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Constitutional and political change in Russia

07-02-2020

In January 2020, Vladimir Putin proposed sweeping constitutional amendments. These have been widely seen as preparing the way for him to retain political influence after the end of his fourth and probably final presidency in 2024. Putin's announcement was followed by the resignation of the government. Dmitry Medvedev, who has been Prime Minister since 2012, has made way for Mikhail Mishustin. While these changes open up new possibilities for Putin's post-2024 future, his actual intentions are still ...

In January 2020, Vladimir Putin proposed sweeping constitutional amendments. These have been widely seen as preparing the way for him to retain political influence after the end of his fourth and probably final presidency in 2024. Putin's announcement was followed by the resignation of the government. Dmitry Medvedev, who has been Prime Minister since 2012, has made way for Mikhail Mishustin. While these changes open up new possibilities for Putin's post-2024 future, his actual intentions are still unclear.

Continuation of work in progress from last term

28-06-2019

With European elections held on 23-26 May 2019, the eighth parliamentary term formally ends on 1 July 2019, a day before the constituent part-session of the newly elected Parliament. Despite the efforts of the co-legislators, agreement could not be found on a number of legislative proposals before the end of the parliamentary term, and these form a major part of the business that needs to be picked up again in the new term. In order to ensure continuity in its work, therefore, Parliament has adopted ...

With European elections held on 23-26 May 2019, the eighth parliamentary term formally ends on 1 July 2019, a day before the constituent part-session of the newly elected Parliament. Despite the efforts of the co-legislators, agreement could not be found on a number of legislative proposals before the end of the parliamentary term, and these form a major part of the business that needs to be picked up again in the new term. In order to ensure continuity in its work, therefore, Parliament has adopted rules on how to deal with unfinished files.

The power of the European Parliament: Examples of EP impact during the 2014-19 legislative term

30-04-2019

As the only European Union institution elected directly, the European Parliament is at the heart of representative democracy, the foundation upon which the EU is built. Since its creation, the Parliament’s powers have evolved significantly, transforming it into a full-fledged legislative body and forum of discussion and engagement, whose influence is felt in virtually all areas of EU activity. This paper provides an overview of the European Parliament's main powers, demonstrating how they interact ...

As the only European Union institution elected directly, the European Parliament is at the heart of representative democracy, the foundation upon which the EU is built. Since its creation, the Parliament’s powers have evolved significantly, transforming it into a full-fledged legislative body and forum of discussion and engagement, whose influence is felt in virtually all areas of EU activity. This paper provides an overview of the European Parliament's main powers, demonstrating how they interact, and illustrating through practical examples from the most recent parliamentary term (2014-2019) the various ways in which the Parliament uses those powers in its daily work.

Externý autor

DG, EPRS;

Provisions governing the activity of high political office-holders in election or selection processes: A comparative analysis of the provisions and practices in the EU, its Member States and selected international organisations

16-02-2017

In its resolution of 28 April 2016 on the discharge procedure for the year 2014, the European Parliament instructed the European Parliamentary Research Service to undertake a study including 'a comparative analysis of the legal framework governing the compatibilities of candidates who run for election campaigns in other international organisations and in the Member States (election of prime minister, secretary general, chancellor, etc.)'. This study therefore examines relevant rules on the use of ...

In its resolution of 28 April 2016 on the discharge procedure for the year 2014, the European Parliament instructed the European Parliamentary Research Service to undertake a study including 'a comparative analysis of the legal framework governing the compatibilities of candidates who run for election campaigns in other international organisations and in the Member States (election of prime minister, secretary general, chancellor, etc.)'. This study therefore examines relevant rules on the use of public resources by high political office-holders in electoral/selection processes at EU, international and EU Member State level. An initial version of this study was delivered to the Members of the Committee on Budgetary Control in October 2016. This revised version incorporates some minor changes following final verifications. Nonetheless, the information in this study does not reflect any further possible recent changes in any individual Member State.

Democracy in Africa: Power alternation and presidential term limits

04-04-2016

The democratic landscape in Africa is complex, featuring a mixture of examples of progress, in some areas, and regression in others. While some countries have continuously come closer to high democratic standards, considerably strengthening their democratic systems, others have seen their democratic credentials worsen. A pervasive feature of political systems on the African continent has been the fact that the incumbent presidents and ruling parties tend to win elections, whether fair or not. Since ...

The democratic landscape in Africa is complex, featuring a mixture of examples of progress, in some areas, and regression in others. While some countries have continuously come closer to high democratic standards, considerably strengthening their democratic systems, others have seen their democratic credentials worsen. A pervasive feature of political systems on the African continent has been the fact that the incumbent presidents and ruling parties tend to win elections, whether fair or not. Since independence, few African states have experienced transfer of presidential and parliamentary power as a result of elections. At the beginning of the 1990s, during the democratisation wave that swept the continent, most African countries introduced constitutional term limits for their presidents. However, ultimately many of these limits were short-lived, as the leaders who initiated them were often themselves later responsible for spearheading constitutional amendments in order to extend their position in power. In several cases, strong opposition from civil society, but also from political actors, was successful in upholding constitutional rules. In others, however, popular opposition was repressed and the will of the heads of state concerned prevailed, sometimes at the cost of prolonged turmoil. In this context the question arises: how essential and useful to democracy are presidential term limits? While the US under the Obama administration has been vocal in defending term limits in Africa, the EU has not taken sides on the issue as such, focusing instead on the respect of constitutional processes when revisions occur.

Constitutional referendum in Senegal - Shorter presidential term: a half-kept promise

11-03-2016

President Macky Sall decided to put constitutional changes to a referendum on 20 March 2016. The proposal includes a reduction of the presidential term length from seven to five years. Nevertheless President Sall, following the Constitutional Council's opinion, declared the reduction could not apply to his current mandate: he would thus stay in office until 2019, contrary to a promise he made when he was elected. While Sall's supporters hailed his sense of responsibility, opponents denounced this ...

President Macky Sall decided to put constitutional changes to a referendum on 20 March 2016. The proposal includes a reduction of the presidential term length from seven to five years. Nevertheless President Sall, following the Constitutional Council's opinion, declared the reduction could not apply to his current mandate: he would thus stay in office until 2019, contrary to a promise he made when he was elected. While Sall's supporters hailed his sense of responsibility, opponents denounced this decision as a political manoeuvre to backtrack on his commitment.

Electoral Gender Quota Systems and their Implementation in Europe

14-06-2013

The note is an updated version of the 2011 study Electoral Gender Quotas and Their Implementation in Europe (PE 408.309), and it maps the diffusion of electoral gender quotas in the 30 EU/EEA countries and evaluates the effectiveness of different quota types in different electoral systems. The note shows that legislated quotas are implemented in eight countries and party quotas in 14 (additional) countries. It also shows that some gender quotas have resulted in major leaps in women’s representation ...

The note is an updated version of the 2011 study Electoral Gender Quotas and Their Implementation in Europe (PE 408.309), and it maps the diffusion of electoral gender quotas in the 30 EU/EEA countries and evaluates the effectiveness of different quota types in different electoral systems. The note shows that legislated quotas are implemented in eight countries and party quotas in 14 (additional) countries. It also shows that some gender quotas have resulted in major leaps in women’s representation, while others had led to almost no change. In general, the note reveals a mixed picture in Europe when it comes to women’s representation. It shows that women’s parliamentary representation only increased from 23.6 per cent in 2008 to 24.7 per cent in 2011 to 25.6 per cent in 2013. In the most recent parliamentary election in 19 of the countries as well as in the election to the European Parliament women’s representation increased. Four countries experienced stagnation, and in seven of the countries women’s share of the MPs dropped.

Externý autor

Lenita Freidenvall and Drude Dahlerup (Department of Political Science, Stockholm University, Sweden)

Independent Candidates in National and European Elections

15-04-2013

Independent candidates remain marginal vote-getters in the vast majority of elections in which they compete. However, they do regularly win seats in legislative assemblies in a number of European countries, and occasionally achieve surprise victories in others. Half of the EU member states currently grant ballot access to independents in national legislative elections, while only a quarter of member states allow non-party candidates in European Parliament elections. Ballot access requirements for ...

Independent candidates remain marginal vote-getters in the vast majority of elections in which they compete. However, they do regularly win seats in legislative assemblies in a number of European countries, and occasionally achieve surprise victories in others. Half of the EU member states currently grant ballot access to independents in national legislative elections, while only a quarter of member states allow non-party candidates in European Parliament elections. Ballot access requirements for independents vary widely across EU-27 but tend to be more stringent for European elections than for national elections. Independent candidates perform better in systems with plurality rule or preferential voting compared to party-list PR systems. They win seats in single-member districts and low-magnitude multi-member districts. Although independents are expected to benefit from electoral rules that make politics more candidate-centered, the performance of non-party candidates does not depend on the modality of lists (open or closed). The vote for independents has elements of a protest vote. Voters who vote for independent candidates tend to be more critical of the government and less satisfied with the way democracy works in their country than party-voters. They are also less likely to feel close to any political party. When independent candidates are elected to office, they frequently join parties and parliamentary party groups. Thus, independence is often not a principled position but a temporary status resulting from circumstantial choices made by individuals competing for political office.

Externý autor

Piret Ehin, Ülle Madise, Mihkel Solvak, Rein Taagepera, Kristjan Vassil and Priit Vinkel

National Provisions Regarding the Early Termination of Parliamentary Office

15-07-1998

The first part relates to Members of national parliaments. In addition, to an outline of the reasons allowed under national law for the early termination of office, particular attention is devoted to the procedure followed in the event of resignation and the date on which the resignation takes effect. This is followed by a description of the proceduress relating to the replacement of national MPs whose office terminagtes during a parliamentary term. Lastly, where the system provides for such an MP ...

The first part relates to Members of national parliaments. In addition, to an outline of the reasons allowed under national law for the early termination of office, particular attention is devoted to the procedure followed in the event of resignation and the date on which the resignation takes effect. This is followed by a description of the proceduress relating to the replacement of national MPs whose office terminagtes during a parliamentary term. Lastly, where the system provides for such an MP to be replaced by the best placed non-elected candidate on the electoral list, it was enquired whether that candidate is able to ask to be removed from the list or, in other terms, to stand down if he no longer wishes to take his seat in parliament. These latter aspects are also the subject of the second part of the study, which is concerned in particular with the national provisions applicable to the replacement of MEPs whose office comes to an end during a parliamentary term.

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