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Performing Catalan “Self-Determination” _(Part II)

by Zoran Oklopcic, Associate Professor at the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University.

While one might choose to focus on the contradictions and dissimulations which Lockean performances oftentimes require, the Catalan crisis is an occasion to ask a set of less judgmental questions: What is it that compels present-day revolutionary secessionists to follow the script intended to serve struggles against oppressive tyrants and empires, not liberal democrats and republics? What do those who follow it today expect to happen as a consequence of doing so? Or, more precisely: What are Catalans betting on as they perform the role of reasonable revolutionaries—who, in a contemporary dramatization of the Lockean script by the Catalan parliament—make ‘every effort’ to stay on the constitutional path, and who act unconstitutionally only ‘after exhausting all forms of dialogue and negotiation’? What is it that they think they must do in order to increase the chances of their bet succeeding?

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Performing Catalan “Self-Determination”_(Part I)

by Zoran Oklopcic, Associate Professor at the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University.

Since the advent of popular sovereignty at the turn of the 19th century, referendums have been one of the most (excuse the pun) popular techniques of ascertaining the extent of popular support for a variety of far-reaching political projects. Oftentimes viewed as indispensable for demonstrating the legitimacy of secessionist pursuits, independence referendums have only rarely resulted in victories for advocates of the constitutional status quo. Among the 54 referendums that have taken place since the early 1800s, 43 saw the triumph of pro-independence majorities. In terms of their actual success in seceding, however, things predictably look different. Out of the victorious 43, only 22 pro-independence majorities managed to achieve independence peacefully. In the case of the remaining 21, independence either never occurred, or, when it did, took place only after a period of protracted violence.

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Decisions of the Swiss Voters and the Majority of the Cantons on September 24, 2017

by Thomas Fleiner.

On Sunday September 24 2017, the Swiss voters decided on the following issues. The sovereign (majority of the cantons and the voters) accepted a new article 104 a concerning enough foodstuff supply with 78.7% and rejected a new Constitutional provision for a new value added tax with 52%. This concerns Article 130 par 3ter and quater (including the transitional provisions 196 par 6 and 7 linked to Article 130 of the tax amendment) tax, which supports the institution for old age survivors. The majority of the voters did also reject the legislation concerning the retirement arrangement 2020 with 52.7%. The turnaround was 46.7%. Almost all German-speaking cantons rejected a new added-value tax. Of the German-speaking cantons only Bale-town, Bern and Zurich accepted it. The French speaking cantons and the Ticino accepted it.

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(Ethno-political) Strategic Components of the Supreme Court of Kenya’s Presidential Election Decision: Settling for the lesser evil?

by Duncan Okubasu, Lecturer at Kabarak University School of Law and an Advocates of the High Court of Kenya

Few minutes after Kenya’s Supreme Court (SC) nullified President Uhuru’s re-election, his lawyer- Ahmednasir Abdullahi – in a press conference described the decision as political, having nothing to do with the law. Indeed, the demand of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 that a presidential election must be determined within 14 days leaves SC judges with the constrained option of making an ‘intuitive’ decision and then following it with reasons at a later time. In the Raila v Kenyatta Case (2017), the SC completed hearing the dispute on 29 August 2017 and was expected to and did provide its ‘decision’ on 1 September 2017. It indicated in so doing that it would deliver a reasoned judgment within 21 days.

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Does Latin America Need a ‘Supra-Constitutional’ Court? Lessons from the Central American Experience

by Carlos Arturo Villagrán Sandoval, PhD Candidate at Melbourne Law School.
Last week, on April 3rd 2017, the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States held a meeting in order to consider the recent events in Venezuela. They approved by consensus the following resolution:
‘[t]he decisions of the Supreme Court of Venezuela to suspend the powers of the National Assembly and to arrogate them to itself are inconsistent with democratic practice and constitute an alteration of the constitutional order of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.’ The actions of the Venezuelan Supreme Court are the latest in a series of events that amount together to a constitutional disruption within the Latin American region.

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Popular Participation in Constitutional Amendment: A Public Debate

On the occasion of the publication of the book X. Contiades/A. Fotiadou (Eds), Participatory Constitutional Change. The People as Amenders of the Constitution, (Routledge 2017), The Centre for European Constitutional Law – Themistocles and Dimitris Tsatsos Foundation organizes a public debate in Athens, Greece on the issue:

Popular Participation in Constitutional Amendment

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Decisions of the Swiss Sovereign on February 12 2017

by Thomas Fleiner.

On Sunday February 12 2017, the Swiss sovereign (Article 195 as well as according to Article 142 par two of the Constitution) decided on two amendments of the constitution proposed by the Parliament with a turnout of 46 to 47%%. The constitutional amendment on third generation foreigners living in Switzerland has been approved with 60.4% yes and 39.6%% no. 17 cantons voted yes and only six cantons voted no. The Swiss sovereign approved the amendment on the financial support for the roads with 61.9% yes and only 38.1% no. All cantons did approve this constitutional amendment.

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International Actors in the Guatemalan Constitutional Reform: The Story of the CICIG

by Carlos Arturo Villagrán Sandoval, PhD Candidate, Melbourne Law School.
In the last two years, a series of reform proposals have been debated regarding the constitutional reform of Guatemala’s judiciary. These constitutional reform proposals, which include a major overhaul of the election and composition of the Constitutional Court, the creation of a judicial supervisory organ and the recognition of indigenous justice, have been promoted by a foreign actor, the Comisión International Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala or the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG).

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