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Japan's Parliament and other political institutions

15-12-2020

Japan is a constitutional monarchy, with a parliamentary system of government based on the separation of powers. The Emperor is the symbol of the state and does not hold political functions, only performing ceremonial duties. Nevertheless, he can play a relevant diplomatic role. With Emperor Naruhito's enthronement in 2019, following his father's abdication, Japan has entered the Reiwa (beautiful harmony) age. The 2001 administrative reform strengthened the Prime Minister's leadership in the cabinet ...

Japan is a constitutional monarchy, with a parliamentary system of government based on the separation of powers. The Emperor is the symbol of the state and does not hold political functions, only performing ceremonial duties. Nevertheless, he can play a relevant diplomatic role. With Emperor Naruhito's enthronement in 2019, following his father's abdication, Japan has entered the Reiwa (beautiful harmony) age. The 2001 administrative reform strengthened the Prime Minister's leadership in the cabinet. The Chief Cabinet Secretary also plays a relevant role. Suga Yoshihide, leader of the Liberal-Democratic Party, is the country's Prime Minister, succeeding Abe Shinzō, Japan's longest-serving prime minister, in 2020. The Supreme Court is at the top of the judicial system. It is not a constitutional court, despite handling appeals arising from actual disputes. The appointment of its Justices is reviewed by the people at the first general election of the Lower House following their appointment. Japan is a unitary state divided into 47 prefectures. A Metropolitan Government administers the capital, Tokyo. Japan's 1947 Constitution recognises 'local self-government.' Local governments carry out many of the national policies and programmes. They have limited autonomy, also because of their dependence on financial resources from the central government. Japan has a bicameral parliament − the Diet. Although the two chambers share legislative powers, the Lower House (House of Representatives) prevails in the legislative process and is empowered to adopt the final decision on the budget and on the approval of international treaties. Changes in the regional geopolitical environment and in the country's demographic structure have prompted debates on issues such as the revision of the 'pacifist' Article 9 of the Constitution and the seat distribution among electoral constituencies. This is an update of a briefing published in June 2020.

Institutional set up of macroprudential policy in the European Union

18-09-2020

This briefing provides an overview of the institutional macroprudential framework in the European Union (EU), distribution of powers and responsibilities and interactions between different institutions.

This briefing provides an overview of the institutional macroprudential framework in the European Union (EU), distribution of powers and responsibilities and interactions between different institutions.

Accountability Mechanisms of Major Central Banks and Possible Avenues to Improve the ECB's Accountability

15-09-2020

Independece of monetary authorities is a key tenet of modern central banking. Indepedence, however, must go hand in hand with accountability towards the public and its elected representatives. Four studies were prepared for the ECON Committee by the Monetary Expert Panel, comparing the accountability practices of major central banks in other juristictions (the Bank of England, the Swiss National Bank, the Bank of Japan and the Federal Reserve) with those of the European Central Bank (ECB) and offering ...

Independece of monetary authorities is a key tenet of modern central banking. Indepedence, however, must go hand in hand with accountability towards the public and its elected representatives. Four studies were prepared for the ECON Committee by the Monetary Expert Panel, comparing the accountability practices of major central banks in other juristictions (the Bank of England, the Swiss National Bank, the Bank of Japan and the Federal Reserve) with those of the European Central Bank (ECB) and offering recommendations on how to improve the ECB's accoutability framework.

Külső szerző

Rosa M. LASTRA, Charles WYPLOSZ, Grégory CLAEYS, Marta DOMÍNGUEZ-JIMÉNEZ, Karl WHELAN

The 2017 Sakharov Prize

05-12-2017

Established in 1988 by the European Parliament, the Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought is awarded each year in December to individuals or organisations for their outstanding achievements in upholding human rights and fundamental freedoms. By awarding the 2017 Prize to the Venezuelan Opposition, the Parliament denounces the situation in Venezuela, re-affirms its support to the democratically elected National Assembly, calls for a peaceful transition to democracy, and pays tribute to the Venezuelan ...

Established in 1988 by the European Parliament, the Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought is awarded each year in December to individuals or organisations for their outstanding achievements in upholding human rights and fundamental freedoms. By awarding the 2017 Prize to the Venezuelan Opposition, the Parliament denounces the situation in Venezuela, re-affirms its support to the democratically elected National Assembly, calls for a peaceful transition to democracy, and pays tribute to the Venezuelan people, in particular to those who have been unjustly jailed for expressing their opinions.

The 2017 State of the Union debate in the European Parliament

08-09-2017

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s State of the Union address to the European Parliament, and the subsequent debate, on 13 September come in the context of the ongoing broader reflection on the future path of the European Union. This has been intensified by the first-ever withdrawal of a Member State from the Union; although lamented by most, this is often cited as an opportunity to rebuild the Union on stronger grounds. The debate will therefore feed into a larger reflection process ...

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s State of the Union address to the European Parliament, and the subsequent debate, on 13 September come in the context of the ongoing broader reflection on the future path of the European Union. This has been intensified by the first-ever withdrawal of a Member State from the Union; although lamented by most, this is often cited as an opportunity to rebuild the Union on stronger grounds. The debate will therefore feed into a larger reflection process, to which Parliament contributed three landmark resolutions, launched by EU-27 leaders in the Rome declaration of 25 March 2017. As announced in President Juncker’s 2016 State of the Union speech, the Commission published a white paper on the future of Europe, identifying five scenarios for the further course of the Union. The Commission President has recently pointed to a sixth scenario to be revealed in his State of the Union speech. The State of the Union debate forms part of the process for the adoption of the annual Commission Work Programme and thus plays an important role in identifying major political priorities to be agreed in interinstitutional dialogue. This briefing is an update of an earlier one of September 2016, PE 586.665.

Turkmenistan reforms need to go further

21-06-2016

The Turkmen government has introduced various reforms since 2008 and has expressed an interest in closer cooperation with the EU. Yet, the May 2016 debate in the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) on the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Turkmenistan highlighted Parliament's dissatisfaction with the reforms. On the grounds of severe human rights concerns, AFET suspended its approval of the PCA until the country makes satisfactory progress.

The Turkmen government has introduced various reforms since 2008 and has expressed an interest in closer cooperation with the EU. Yet, the May 2016 debate in the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) on the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Turkmenistan highlighted Parliament's dissatisfaction with the reforms. On the grounds of severe human rights concerns, AFET suspended its approval of the PCA until the country makes satisfactory progress.

Turkey's political situation before the general election

04-06-2015

Following the local and presidential elections of 2014, the ruling party (AKP) is increasing its influence over the political landscape and fostering its agenda of a more presidential regime. In this context, the outcome of the 7 June general election will be crucial.

Following the local and presidential elections of 2014, the ruling party (AKP) is increasing its influence over the political landscape and fostering its agenda of a more presidential regime. In this context, the outcome of the 7 June general election will be crucial.

Making the US federal budget: Process and hazards

10-03-2015

The federal budget makes up roughly half of all public spending in the US, with the rest spent at state and local level. The United States (US) Congress, comprising the House of Representatives and the Senate, is responsible for passing the legislation that constitutes the budget, but the President also plays an important role, both in launching the process through a formal budget proposal and in bringing it to an end by signing appropriations, revenue and entitlement bills into law. While the ...

The federal budget makes up roughly half of all public spending in the US, with the rest spent at state and local level. The United States (US) Congress, comprising the House of Representatives and the Senate, is responsible for passing the legislation that constitutes the budget, but the President also plays an important role, both in launching the process through a formal budget proposal and in bringing it to an end by signing appropriations, revenue and entitlement bills into law. While the budget process is formally set out in legislation, budget-making in practice can be quite different. The Constitution grants the 'power of the purse' to Congress, but it is ultimately the President who signs bills into law. This de facto division of powers between President and Congress, and within Congress between the House of Representatives and the Senate, poses specific challenges – not least when the House, the Senate and the Presidency are controlled by different parties. These challenges have been conspicuous in recent years, as lawmakers have struggled to follow the prescribed timetable, necessitating other procedures and stopgap measures to maintain funding for vital government functions. In addition, in response to mounting government debt and political deadlock, attempts have been made to bind future legislatures, by locking in budget cuts in a process known as 'sequestration'. At times the key players have been unable to reach agreement, cutting off funding from parts of the government and putting the US at risk of a sovereign default.

Comparative Analysis between the Constitutional Processes in Egypt and Tunisia - Lessons Learnt. Overview of the Constitutional Situation in Libya

15-04-2014

The 2014 Constitutions of Egypt and Tunisia, though enacted at the same time and as a consequence of very similar revolutionary forces, are different in style and content. Egypt has fallen back to the structures of the 1971 Constitution and will likely experience further restoration of the authoritarian presidentialism. The Armed Forces continue to play a dominant background role in the political and constitutional life of the country. Tunisia seems to have embraced a new constitutional paradigm ...

The 2014 Constitutions of Egypt and Tunisia, though enacted at the same time and as a consequence of very similar revolutionary forces, are different in style and content. Egypt has fallen back to the structures of the 1971 Constitution and will likely experience further restoration of the authoritarian presidentialism. The Armed Forces continue to play a dominant background role in the political and constitutional life of the country. Tunisia seems to have embraced a new constitutional paradigm that is based on a modern approach to human rights protection and a balanced institutional framework that provides for substantial checks and balances between the three branches of government. The constitutional drafting process in Libya is overshadowed by a pronounced lack of security, the absence of functioning state institutions, societal fragmentation, and the uneven distribution of natural wealth. National reconciliation is a key precondition of successful political and constitutional transition but the process has to date been a very difficult one. There are indications, however, that stakeholders in Libya are trying to build consensus on important aspects of the process. The 1951 Constitution, based on a federal framework, offers the best conceptual framework for the recently elected Constituent Assembly. Unlike Egypt and Tunisia, Libya might opt for a parliamentary form of government rather than a semi-presidential system.

Külső szerző

Jörg FEDTKE (Tulane University Law School, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA)

Egypt: In-Depth Analysis of the Main Elements of the New Constitution

09-04-2014

Despite cautious liberalisation in a few limited areas, Egypt’s new constitution of January 2014 does not represent a new democratic departure. The process of its adoption was not inclusive. Public consultations leading to the referendum were selective and weak. According to observation missions the referendum campaign was entirely skewed in favour of a ‘yes’ vote. Key elements of Egypt’s constitution are at odds with international legal obligations and standards. Human rights provisions are not ...

Despite cautious liberalisation in a few limited areas, Egypt’s new constitution of January 2014 does not represent a new democratic departure. The process of its adoption was not inclusive. Public consultations leading to the referendum were selective and weak. According to observation missions the referendum campaign was entirely skewed in favour of a ‘yes’ vote. Key elements of Egypt’s constitution are at odds with international legal obligations and standards. Human rights provisions are not specific in many aspects, leaving crucial aspects to be determined by laws. The military has a significant role; it is not only beyond democratic control, it has a say in civilian matters – an inverse relationship to democratic set-up. On a more positive note, the far-reaching Sharia provisions of the 2012 law have been abandoned and the article on equality of men and women has been strengthened. On balance the constitution offers little hope for eventual democratisation. Amending its provisions will be extremely difficult, requiring 2/3 majority in the House of Representatives and a referendum.

Külső szerző

Michael MEYER-RESENDE (Democracy Reporting International DRI, Germany)

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