Popular vote on September 23, 2018 in Switzerland concerning the direct counter-proposal to the Bike Initiative and the Federal Popular Initiatives on Fair Food and Food Sovereignty

by Prof. Markus Kern / Antonia Huwiler, University of Bern
The Swiss electorate only accepted one of the three proposals up for discussion: The direct counter-proposal to the Bike Initiative. The Fair Food Initiative and the Initiative for food sovereignty have been rejected. The voter turnout amounted to around 37%.

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Decisions of the Swiss Voters and the Majority of the Cantons on March 4, 2018

by Thomas Fleiner

The sovereign decided on this Sunday on two crucial decisions, with regard to the Swiss constitution: The turnout of this vote was 54.1%. This turnout is exceptionally high for Switzerland, because the discussions mainly on the decision of the sovereign with regard to radio and television were strongly emotional. The first decision concerns a federal decision of the Swiss parliament about the financial order of Switzerland (Article196 cipher 13, 14 par 1 and 15 of the Constitution). The sovereign adopted this first decision by a majority of 84,1%; all cantons adopted this decision of the Parliament; however, the sovereign rejected the second popular initiative by a majority of  71,6% against 28.4%. 

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Repeal the 8th, Activism, Social Movement, and Constitutional Change in Ireland

by Fiona De Londras, Professor of Global Legal Studies, Deputy Head of Birmingham Law School

The Irish Constitution can only be formally amended by referendum (Art. 46). Unlike in some jurisdictions, however, there is no formal mechanism for popular initiative: ultimately only the Oireachtas [Parliament] can propose a referendum, and the exact wording of the proposition put to the People ordinarily comes from the Attorney General. What the current developments in respect of the 8th Amendment and its potential repeal show, however, is that constitutional change in Ireland is not necessarily a technocratic, elite discourse: it can be, and in this case is being, driven by a social demand for change.

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Decisions of the Swiss Sovereign on November 27 2016

by Thomas Fleiner.

On Sunday November 27, the Swiss sovereign (according to Article 195 as well as Article 142 par two of the Constitution) decided on a popular constitutional initiative concerning the organized and controlled exit from nuclear energy. The decision was made with a turnout of some 49% against the initiative voted 54% while 45% voted yes. 18 cantons voted no and only 5 cantons voted yes.

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Greece Faces the Possibility of an Unconstitutional Constitutional Revision

by Dr. Alkmene Fotiadou, Centre for European Constitutional Law.
On July 25, the Greek Prime Minister announced his proposals for a revision of the Constitution of Greece. The key characteristic of the proposals is the very conspicuous possibility that an unconstitutional constitutional revision shall take place, entailing both procedural unconstitutionality and subject-matter unconstitutionality.

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Decision of the Swiss on the initiative for the enforcement of the Constitution

by Thomas Fleiner

This is analysis of the decisions of the Swiss sovereign on three constitutional amendments and on a legislative referendum that took place on February 28, 2016. The turnout is usually lower than 40%. This time, however, it was very high with 62% mainly thanks to the initiative of the UDC.

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A non-deliberative snap referendum: Greece

Dr. Alkmini Fotiadou, Centre For European Constitutional Law.

Woke up this morning to find out I must vote on Sunday on the «Reforms for the completion of the Current Program and Beyond» and on the «Preliminary Debt sustainability analysis». I googled them but could not find them. A few hours later I found the documents through the Financial Times, while an unofficial translation in Greek appeared later on in the social media. Then, I re-read a bit of constitutional referendums theory. The prerequisites for elite-manipulation are painfully present. The most striking characteristic of the proposed snap referendum is that it is more than a snap referendum. It is a surprise referendum. Lack of time for deliberation is more than apparent. Actually there is no time to even realize what is at stake.

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UK Membership of the European Union: The Relevance of the European Union Act 2011- Dilemmas and debates

by John McEldowney.

Introduction.

The rise in popularity of the United Kingdom Independence Party(UKIP) in the UK amidst the possibility of popular support for euro-sceptic political parties raises major constitutional issues about the UK’s continued membership of the EU. A recent TV debate between the Deputy Prime Minister and the Leader of UKIP proved how difficult it was to present technical arguments for membership in the context of popular scepticism about the EU. Winning the argument to stay in the EU will not be easy as a promised “in/out” referendum is likely to be held if the Conservative Party win the next election. The time-table for the next general election is fixed for May 2015 but the run up to that election will set an unprecedented time for the UK. There are considerable self-imposed constraints on the UK’s approach to the EU that mark a considerable departure from the approach of previous governments.

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