In a decision announced on 18th April, a five-justice panel of el Cort pu Inalt has rejected the King’s assertion of a power to block Organic Law changes by refusing to proclaim them after they had been duly ratified. The King claimed that by “explicitly refusing” to proclaim 47RZ28, which curtailed his discretion in appointing provincial representatives, he was able to prevent its inclusion in the Organic Law. The subsequent controversy has become known as the Proclamation Crisis.
Four of the Justices of the Uppermost Cort, with one Justice abstaining, upheld the appeal launched by the last government to a previous decision of the Cort delivered in November 2015. At that time a three-Justice panel decided 2-1 that the King’s action was Organic, and that 47RZ28 could not be incorporated in the Organic Law.
However following an appeal launched by the outgoing government prior to the general election, the Cort has now determined that such a power was “undemocratic and not in keeping with the body of law upon which the Kingdom was founded. The Cort has thus ordered that all amendments certified as having been ratified by referendum are to be incorporated in the Organic Law, regardless of whether they are proclaimed or not.
This means in practice that both 47RZ28 and the more recently ratified 48RZ16, the so-called “3/4 Majority Amendment”, are now the law of the land, despite the King’s rejection of the first and controversial reticence on the second. The latter measure, intended as a solution to the Crisis, grants the King a veto over bills amending the constitution, which will be possible for the Ziu to override with a supermajority, or by re-enacting the same amendment following a general election.
In a public statement FreeDem leader and former Attorney-General Miestrâ Schivâ described the decision as both “gratifying” and “vexing”. She declared that the decision vindicated her legal strategy and provided a “legal, political road” to political reform, even over the monarchs objections. However she regretted that the Cort had not suspended the holding of the referendum on 48RZ16, as she had requested. She stated that her party’s attitude of cautious support towards the proposal would have been different had the Cort been able to reach a decision before the vote was taken, and that the amendment had “made things worse”. She accused 48RZ16’s RUMP supporters of deliberately obstructing her case in order to “win whichever way the Cort ruled”.
Reaction from other MZs was swift. ModRad Senator Epic da Lhiun welcomed the decision and bluntly reiterated his lack of confidence in the King. His party colleague and fellow sponsor of 48RZ16 Ian Plätschisch MC took issue with D:na Schivâ’s criticism of the amendment, calling it a “landmark compromise” and denying it would have negative consequences. The Minister of Stuff later told ETT that in his opinion 48RZ16 was most in line with moderate principles and that he believed that the Proclamation Crisis was over, “but you never know what could happen”.
Speaking to ETT Minister of Finance and Cabinet Chief of Staff Sir Alexandreu Davinescu stated that he welcomed the “practical effect” of the ruling, even as he criticised its legal basis. He noted that the two Justices in the majority in the November 2015 decision, Justices dal Nordselvă and Cjantscheir, had now reversed themselves in what he claimed was defiance of the principles of precedent. He also stated that as far as he was concerned the Cort’s ruling and 48RZ16 had closed the issue, expressing a desire to “move on” from the controversy.
There has been no official statement from the Royal Household at the time of writing.