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Japan: Shinzō Abe wins a new mandate

25-10-2017

Shinzō Abe won the snap elections he called for the lower house on 22 October 2017. Despite her popularity, Tokyo's governor Yuriko Koike failed to convince the electorate to oust a prime minister in charge since December 2012. The newly created Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan became the main opposition force in the House of Representatives. In coalition with Kōmeitō, Abe's Liberal Democratic Party holds a two-thirds majority enabling it to pass constitutional amendments.

Shinzō Abe won the snap elections he called for the lower house on 22 October 2017. Despite her popularity, Tokyo's governor Yuriko Koike failed to convince the electorate to oust a prime minister in charge since December 2012. The newly created Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan became the main opposition force in the House of Representatives. In coalition with Kōmeitō, Abe's Liberal Democratic Party holds a two-thirds majority enabling it to pass constitutional amendments.

Serbia: Political parties and the EU

17-07-2015

Since the 1990s, one of the main dividing lines between Serbian political parties has been their position on European integration. The past two decades have seen growing dynamism to political life in Serbia, with new parties emerging and old ones changing from anti- to pro-EU views, nuancing their rhetoric in line with public attitudes. The start of accession talks with the EU in January 2014 indicates the attenuation of previously sharp divisions vis-à-vis the EU.

Since the 1990s, one of the main dividing lines between Serbian political parties has been their position on European integration. The past two decades have seen growing dynamism to political life in Serbia, with new parties emerging and old ones changing from anti- to pro-EU views, nuancing their rhetoric in line with public attitudes. The start of accession talks with the EU in January 2014 indicates the attenuation of previously sharp divisions vis-à-vis the EU.

Shaping and Controlling Foreign Policy - Parliamentary Diplomacy and Oversight, and the Role of the European Parliament

04-06-2015

In the post-Cold War international system, new actors, including parliaments, emerge and they challenge the traditional dominance by governments of international relations and foreign policy. In democratic societies it is increasingly difficult to sustain the traditional notion that foreign policy is incompatible with democratic decision-making and scrutiny and that state sovereignty in this domain is the exclusive, unquestionable competence of governments, as the perceived sole representative of ...

In the post-Cold War international system, new actors, including parliaments, emerge and they challenge the traditional dominance by governments of international relations and foreign policy. In democratic societies it is increasingly difficult to sustain the traditional notion that foreign policy is incompatible with democratic decision-making and scrutiny and that state sovereignty in this domain is the exclusive, unquestionable competence of governments, as the perceived sole representative of the state. As the core institution of democracy and elected representatives, parliaments are increasingly expected to contribute to resolving complex foreign policy and international issues which are impacting more and more directly on citizens’ lives by discussing diverse views on strategic direction and policy priorities, by legitimising complex policies and initiatives and by building up public trust (and support) on complex issues in a way that is comprehensible to citizens. The paper examines the role and functions of parliaments in shaping and controlling foreign policy, also by discussing some case studies (US, German, British and French). It reflects particularly on the gradual parliamentarisation of Member State-dominated EU foreign policy. It analyses the nature of the European Parliament’s actorhood in international relations, the EP’s emerging role in EU foreign policy as well as the tools and powers available to exert influence on the Union’s decisions and relations. It finally concludes that EU foreign policy can become efficient and democratic at the same time in the process of building an EU 'representative democracy'.

Israel's politics in the run-up to the elections

10-03-2015

In December 2014, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called early national elections, scheduled for 17 March 2015, after dissolving the coalition arrangement underpinning the government formed after the January 2013 elections. Differences on Palestinian issues and budgetary matters, between Netanyahu, of the right-wing Likud party, and centrist parties in his coalition, reportedly contributed to the decision. Israel's positions on a host of regional security and socioeconomic issues could be influenced ...

In December 2014, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called early national elections, scheduled for 17 March 2015, after dissolving the coalition arrangement underpinning the government formed after the January 2013 elections. Differences on Palestinian issues and budgetary matters, between Netanyahu, of the right-wing Likud party, and centrist parties in his coalition, reportedly contributed to the decision. Israel's positions on a host of regional security and socioeconomic issues could be influenced by the election results.

India: the biggest democracy in the world

16-10-2014

With 1 267 million inhabitants, of which 834 million can vote, India is the largest democracy in the world. India is an authentic multicultural country: in Lok Sabha, the lower house, members can speak in 15 different languages!

With 1 267 million inhabitants, of which 834 million can vote, India is the largest democracy in the world. India is an authentic multicultural country: in Lok Sabha, the lower house, members can speak in 15 different languages!

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.

Autor extern

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

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