Seneschal Sir Cresti Siervicül has proposed a bill to amend the deadline of the Royal Commission on Organic Law Reform. The RCOR Extension Bill allows for the report to be published “no later than 1st August 2016, with the expectation that the Commission will continue to endeavour to complete its report by the 1st of July”.
The RCOR, a cross-party review of the entire constitution chaired by Justice Txec dal Nordselvă, is currently due to deliver its final report on 1 July, following two extensions of its original statuatory deadline by Prime Dictate. The pace of the RCOR’s work, and the reasons for its repeated breach if its deadline, have been the subject of controversy in the Ziu in recent weeks.
The original legislation establishing the RCOR, which was proposed by then Senator Miestrâ Schivâ in October 2015, foresaw that all members would be appointed by November 1 2015, and that the Commission would complete its review of the Organic Law on 1 February. The Royal representative was not in the end appointed until 29 November, and the report deadline was later extended twice by Prime Dictate, firstly to 1 April 2016, and then later to 1 July 2016.
This latest extension has raised disquiet among MZs, particularly as the FreeDems have publicly stated that they will oppose any constitutional anendments proposed until the Commission has completed its report. The opposition claim that this is in order to avoid contradictory or confusing changes to the existing Law that would cut across the RCOR’s eventual recommendations. As a united FreeDem caucus has a blocking minority in the Cosa this renders any proposed amendments moot.
According to FreeDem leader Miestrâ Schivâ, the responsibility for the delays falls squarely on the conservative party. The leader of the opposition has accused the RUMP, and its leader Sir Alexandreu Davinescu, of engaging in a pattern of “sabotage” in collusion with the King in order to frustrate efforts for reform. Speaking to ETT, Dama Schivâ claimed that she had expected the RUMP leader to “make a good faith effort to make it work…I was wrong”. The Chief of Staff had criticised the composition and remit of the RCOR, and had proposed a parallel, perpetual “Organic Law Standing Committee” of the Ziu to examine similar issues, and declined to become a member.
Sir Alexandreu told ETT that in his view the original conception of the RCOR was “flawed”, and that “I’m not sure that nine years would be enough for them, at this rate”, based on the “gargantuan” size of the task and the method adopted to work through the text. He claimed that despite the “radical nature” of some of the proposals that have emerged “there’s barely been any serious discussion or attempt to work through different ideas”. He stated that he did not understand how he could be held responsible for the delays in the RCOR’s work.
Speaking to ETT, ModRad MC Glüc da Dhi claimed that “if the parties can agree now [on amendments] I don’t think it’s necessary to wait for the commission report”. He also claimed that the Commission was “rushed through” and was “flawed from the beginning”, pointing to the composition of the membership and the requirement of a simple majority, rather than a 2/3 supermajority, to publish a report. The ModRad MC is the author of an as yet unClarked Sense of the Ziu calling on the Seneschal to refuse further extensions to the deadline. He claimed that criticism of RUMP “sandbagging”, with respect to the work of Sir Cresti on the RCOR, “hurts my brain”‘.
The Seneschal himself, who is a member of the RCOR and was proposed as chair until he had to decline due to other commitments, told ETT that he was sceptical a different remit or composition would have made much difference. He rejected Dama Schivâ’s claims of RUMP “sabotage”, arguing that the delay in the appointment of the Royal representative was a fraction of the extra time allowed by the extensions. He also claimed that the OLSC did not distract RCOR members from their work, and indeed may have helped owing to common members incorporating their work for the former into their submissions to the latter.