In the October Newsletter, we share with you four original Voices from the Field and a number of updates on constitutional reform processes in different parts of the world.
President Poroshenko has tabled a constitutional amendment bill that would affirm the Euro-Atlantic course of Ukraine , a move that may serve short-term electoral calculations in view of the upcoming presidential elections. The proposals lacked public discussion and vaguely empower the presidency, an institution that has historically been abused. Kenya has yet to amend its 2010 Constitution, though attempts have been made to do so through use of the popular initiative to bypass parliamentary resistance. However, the ongoing amendment efforts may have misdiagnosed the root causes of the political and economic debacle, or merely provided platforms for political minorities to popularize their causes.
Beyond affirming sexual minority rights, the Supreme Court of India has developed constitutional principles necessary to safeguard its counter-majoritarian functions. The difficulty of channeling concerns of unpopular minorities through regular legislative contestation justifies the assertive interventions of the Court. South Africa is debating the most contentious constitutional amendment proposal yet – the property clause. While the ruling party may hasten the amendment process in order to gain support in the next elections, public participation requirements and possible application to the Constitutional Court may delay the amendment.
In addition to the above original pieces, for updates on constitutional developments from Canada to Namibia, and from Vanuatu to Afghanistan, see below.