Your humble correspondent is away on vacation until next Monday. Follow ETT on Twitter for breaking news @ElTamlalt
In the meantime, I am republishing my take in the failure of the Democratic Amendment in July 2015. The first, and certainly not the last, attempt to resolve the Proclamation Crisis.
The Democratic Amendment has gone down to failure. While 123 seats in the Cosa and 6 of 8 Senators supported the Amendment, this was not enough to overcome the opposition of the RUMP, which narrowly retained a blocking minority in the Cosa after the general election, even while losing 11 seats in the process.
One of the ironies of the situation we now find ourselves in is that the most conservative measure yet proposed is the Democratic Amendment itself. It was a direct solution to the crisis, in that it removed the legal ambiguities exploited by the King to radically assert a power to block duly authorised constitutional amendments that was dramatically at odds with the customary way our constitution has worked. The Amendment would have brought the letter of the Organic Law into line with decades of precedent that even the unlamented King Robert never dared to challenge. No Talossan, including it seems not even the King, would want any but the people to have the final word on an issue like this, but here we are.
Unlike the Balanced Government Amendment proposed by Sir Alexandreu Davinescu, the Democratic Amendment would not have created new supermajority requirements triggered entirely at the King’s discretion that would make any change to the Organic Law unacceptably slow, if not impossible, without virtual unanimity in the Ziu. Sir Alexandreu’s proposal was eloquently made and undoubtedly well-meant, but it unfortunately smacks of special pleading for a minority and has been marginalised as a result.
And unlike Ian Plätschisch’s Court Ordered Pontification proposal, the Democratic Amendment would not have created an unprecedented situation where the Uppermost Cort would in effect be asked to pronounce on the comparative representivity of the Ziu that voted the law, and the quality of the debate that led up to that vote-an innovation the Chief Justice has himself expressed public reservations about. S:reu Plätschisch’s political courage and honourable desire to bring both sides of the Ziu together should be heartily commended, but in my view he errs in bending too far to accommodate rhetoric about “wave elections” which are almost impossible to satisfactorily define in practice.
The reality is that the King is not a deaf mute, trapped in a gilded cage by crypto-Jacobins. He is a member of the Ziu and has the perfect right to participate in debates, and to propose alternatives in the Hopper to measures he views as unwise or ill-conceived (he has for example already done so with the so-called “Time Bomb Amendment” in the 48th Cosa). This is a privilege that most modern constitutional monarchs do not enjoy. Furthermore the King also has the right to offer his own advice to voters in referenda on Organic Law amendments since he is not bound by any law to remain silent if his conscience moves him. If in his opinion the level of debate or the quality of the proposals are lacking, the King has many tools at his disposal to intervene.
My modest proposal for resolving the Proclamation Crisis is for the Ziu to do…nothing. If the King does not wish to have the power he asserted in strangling 47RZ28 at birth, then he should reverse his explicit inaction on that measure, and state that he will never exercise it again, or at the very least not without seeking the advice of his government. And for the future? Most Members of the Ziu, and I believe most Talossans regardless of their view of hereditary monarchy, would welcome the insight and intelligence of a constitutional scholar of the King’s calibre in what are often highly technical debates. Let him exercise that formidable legal intelligence constructively when laws are made, and leave the final word to the sovereign people.
The best protection a constitutional monarch can have is the respect of his people and the trust of his government (whatever its political stripe). It seems to me that rather than trying to create a paper palisade around the monarchy by legalistic means, the King should seek to rebuild that respect and that trust, for the sake of his own legacy and that of the House of Lupul.
(NB: the above is strictly the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of the publishers)
OPINIONS DAVINESCU, DEMOCRACY, DEMOCRATIC AMENDMENT, KING JOHN I, ORGANIC LAW, PLÄTSCHISCH,PROCLAMATION CRISIS, ZIU
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