IEA Newsletter
.: Desember 2007
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  Institut 
d'Estudis Autonòmics
  Palau Centelles 
Bda de Sant Miquel, 8 
08002 Barcelona 
+34 933429825  

bea@gencat.net
   
 
     
 

This issue of the IEA Newsletter provides information on recent events organized by the IEA, as well as documents and links of interest regarding developments on questions of self-government in Catalonia and in Spain.  It also covers some recent political developments in the UK, Switzerland, Italy and Canada.

Among the IEA events and activities, we should like to highlight the 2008 Call for the Josep Mª Vilaseca i Marcet Award for Studies into Federalism and Self-Government, which is valued at 25 000 euros.  Additionally, the Call for 2008 Grants will soon be published:  the IEA Grant Programme includes grants for foreign researchers intending to undertake a period of research at a Catalan University.

 

 

IEA News
 


In September 2008 the IEA will organise the next seminar of the International Association of Centers of Federal Studies (IACFS)

In the last meeting of centres belonging to the IACFS held in Kingston (Canada) it was agreed that the IEA would take charge of organising this international organisation's annual seminar. The seminar will be held from the 18th to 20th of September 2008 at the headquarters of the IEA. The seminar will focus on the topic of the distribution of powers among the member States, and more specifically, on the trends in decentralisation and re-centralisation of powers, and the difference between the systems' constitutional regulation and their putting into practice. In 2006 the IACFS seminar focused on second or upper parliamentary houses, and was held in Tübingen.

IAE participation in the conference The Federal Idea: A Conference in Honour of Ronald L. Watts

The IEA participated in the tribute to Ron Watts (“The Federal Idea: A Conference in Honour of Ronald L. Watts”), which took place in Queen's University (Kingston, Canada) from the 18th to 20th of October 2007, and which was sponsored by the Queen's University Institute of Intergovernmental Relations, the International Political Sciences Association and the IACFS.

 
 

Seminar Andalusia-Catalonia

The CEA (Centro de Estudios Andaluces) and the IEA organized the joint Seminar Andalusia-Catalonia on the development of the statutes of autonomy.  

Events organitzed by the IEA

Recent Seminars

 

Intergovernmental cooperation in the framework of the new statute reforms , November 7th

The seminar assessed the results of the intergovernmental cooperation in Self-Government in Spain to date, and examined the new perspectives that have emerged as a result of the new statutory regulations. The speakers were Mª Jesús García Morales, lecturer in constitutional law at the Autonomous University of Barcelona; Enoch Albertí Rovira, professor of constitutional law at the University of Barcelona; Eduard Roig Molés, consultant to the Office of the Presidency of the Catalan Government and lecturer in constitutional law at the University of Barcelona; and José Mª Pérez Medina, consultant member of the Ministry of Public Administrations Autonomous Cooperation general management.

The IEA will publish the content of the seminar as a book during 2008.

 

Globalisation, free circulation and immigration, and the demand for a language as a requisite, September 26th

The seminar focused on analysing the difficult relationship established between the language policies of the sub-state bodies, especially with regard to the application of language requirements, and the economic and commercial policies promoted by supra-state demands, especially those that promote and guarantee the right of free circulation of the productive factors. The speakers at the seminar were Antoni Milian Massa, professor of administrative law at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Bruno de Witte, professor of community law at the European University Institute in Florence, José Woehrling, professor of constitutional law at the University of Montreal, Iñigo Urrutia Libarona, lecturer in administrative law at the University of the Basque Country, and Maria Àngels Orriols Sallés, lecturer in administrative law at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

 

Conferences on the Catalunya Statute of Autonomy , from 14th to 16th of November

These conferences analysed the position of the Statute and the main topics concerning the statutory regulation: the symbolic and identity elements that it incorporates; the guiding principles and rights; the language regime; institutional organisation; the judicial power in Catalunya; the powers of the Generalitat (the Catalan Autonomous Government); institutional relationships and those with the European Union, and financing. The conferences were organised by the University of Barcelona (UB), Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), the Centre for Political and Constitutional Studies (Centro de Estudios Políticos y Constitucionales) and the IEA. The Conferences were run by Alejandro Saiz Arnaiz and Enoch Albertí Rovira, professors of constitutional law at the UPF and the UB, respectively.

The IEA and the Centre for Political and Constitutional Studies will publish the contents of the Conferences jointly.

 

  II Josep Maria Vilaseca i Marcet Award
Call for 2008 Award
 

The IEA has just issued the call for applications for the second Josep Mª Vilaseca i Marcet Award, valued at 25,000 euros.
Applications must be presented by September 15th 2008, and the decision of the panel of judges will be made known on the IEA website before December 15th 2008.

Work may be presented in Catalan, Spanish, English, French, Italian or German. In every case, a summary in English must be attached (maximum two pages), and the list of contents translated into English. With regard to length, they should have a maximum of 450 pages printed on one side, 1.5 line spacing, with Arial size 12 font for the main text and size 10 for the footnotes. Six copies must be presented on paper and one on CD with I.T. file of the work, all without identifying the author and accompanied with the attached documentation indicated in the call for applications.

For additional information, please contact the IEA - Ms Elisabeth Vidal

With this prize, awarded biennially, the IEA aims to contribute to the development of research into political autonomies and into federalism.   This award is given for the best original and unpublished scientific work, the object of which can be any aspect directly related to political autonomies and federalism.

The award was created in memory of the man who was its first director, Josep Maria Vilaseca i Marcet (1919-1995), lawyer and professor of Administrative Law, participant in the drawing up of the 1979  Statute of Autonomy for Catalunya and president of the Generalitat's Legal Advisory Commission.

 
 

Order for the Application Call

ORDER IRP/346/2007of September 25th, calling for applications for the IEA's Josep Maria Vilaseca i Marcet Award for studies into political autonomies and federalism. (DOGC No. 4981, October 4th 2007.)


  IEA Research Grants
Call for 2008 Grants
 

The rules of the IEA call for grants for 2008 will be published by the end of December 2007.

The rules of the 2007 call for grants can be consulted for purely information purposes, to provide an idea of the grant requirements and conditions.

 

For further information, please contact Ms Elisabeth Vidal .


 
 
IEA Publications
The IEA Journal: Revista d'Estudis Autonòmics i Federals (REAF)
 

Issue No. 5 of the REAF journal has just appeared. Its entire contents are available on the IEA website.

Researchers interested in sending originals can do so by email addressed to reaf@gencat.net . Articles will be submitted to anonymous (double-blind) evaluation.


 
Recent publications
 

El federalisme canadenc contemporani. Fonaments, tradicions i institucions
Alain-G Gagnon (dir.)
"Con(Textos)A" Collection, 5


 
 

El reconocimiento de derechos, deberes y principios en los Estatutos de Autonomía:
¿Hacia una comprensión multinivel o en red de la protección de los derechos?

Marco Aparicio, Gerardo Pisarello
El Clip, 42

 

El poder d'administrar en l'Estat autonòmic: Cap a una reconstrucció dogmàtica de les competències autonòmiques d'execució
Xavier Bernadí Gil
"Institut d'Estudis Autonòmics" Collection, 51

La distribució de competències en el nou Estatut
Seminar. Barcelona, 5 octiber 2006
"Institut d'Estudis Autonòmics" Collection, 52


 
Forthcoming Publications
 

Política sanitària i comunitats autònomes
Seminar. Barcelona 14 november 2006
"Institut d'Estudis Autonòmics" Collection , 53

Estado compuesto y derechos de los ciudadanos
Seminar. Barcelona 21 june 2007
"Institut d'Estudis Autonòmics" Collection, 54

La posición de Tribunal Supremo en el Estado autonómico
Seminar. Barcelona 17 may 2007
"Institut d'Estudis Autonòmics" Collection, 55


 
  Documentary and bibliographic Holdings
 


Over the past year the IEA's document and bibliography database and its online consultation has been completely reformed. The new documentation search page is now available.

The online search page can be used to search for information concerning monographs, serial publications, theses, studies, papers, seminars and symposia related to self-government and federal topics. The search can be made using simple criteria such as “author”, “title”, etc., combined or not (direct search and combined search), or by using the most complex combination of search criteria, including among others, thematic and geographic descriptors (thesaurus), document language, etc. In the period from August 1st and October 31st 2007, 306 new entries have been incorporated, giving the Documentary and Bibliographical Collection database a total of 27,539 entries as of October 31st 2007.


  Journals and Books Summaries
 

Material culled between August and December 2007.


  Self-Government in Spain: Recent Developments
  Unit for the Development of Catalan Self-Government: Documents
 
Comparative table of the regulating of rights in the statutes of Catalunya, Illes Balears and Aragó
 

Comparative table of the regulating of rights in the statutes of autonomy of the autonomous communities of Catalunya, València and Andalusia

 

Depolyement of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy and Development of Catalana
Self-Government: IEA Assessment and Reports

 

In this quarter, the Unit for the Development of Catalan Self-Government has continued to develop the task of legal assessment, analysis and formulation of the proposals regarding the deployment of Organic Law 6/2006, of July 19th, concerning the Catalunya Statute of Autonomy.  Over this period, three reports have been issued regarding the deployment of different aspects of the Statute of Autonomy. The monitoring of the various proposals in progress for reforming the statute, and the preparation of analysis and study materials have been carried out.

In addition, exercising the functions ascribed to it, the IEA has issued five reports monitoring the state's legislative initiatives, two regarding various aspects of self-government law and three notes. 

Over the same period, the IEA has been actively present in numerous forums debating the statute reforms: There was considerable participation in a day conference concerning the reform of the Castella i Lleó Statute of Autonomy, which was held at the University of Salamanca. Also of note were the contributions made by the director to the round table entitled “The key elements of the reforms to the Catalunya, Valencia and Balearic Island statutes”, which took place at the Catalan Summer University in Prada; to the Conferences of the Asociación Española de Letrados de Parlamentos; to the Seminar on Public Law at the university of Deusto, organised by the Institute of Basque Studies and the Basque Parliament, and to the conference “Mature regionalism and emerging regionalism” organised by the Istituto di Studi sui Sistemi Regionali, Federali e sulle Autonomie and the Congress of Deputies in Rome, as well as the conference organised by the Cercle d'Economia: “The challenges of security and justice in Spain”.

 
 

Recent Autonomous-Community Legislation

  Andalusia
  Basque Country
  Castilla y León
 
Catalonia
 
Comunidad de Madrid
  Galicia
  La Rioja
 
  Intergovernmental Relations
 
Ruling of September 18th 2007, by the Secretary of State for Territorial Cooperation, authorising the publishing of the Generalitat-Spanish Government Bilateral Agreement approving the Rules for the aforementioned Commission [Text only available in the original Spanish version]

 
Ruling of September 18th 2007, by the Secretary of State for Territorial Cooperation, authorising the publishing of the Bilateral Commission Cooperation Agreement between the Spanish Government General Administration and the Autonomous Community of Galícia, regarding the Law of Galícia 13/2006, of December 27th, concerning opening hours for commercial premises in Galícia. [Text only available in the original Spanish version.]

  Additional Areas of interest
 

The Spanish Parliament's Law 28/2007 , of October 25th, has been approved, modifying Law 12/2002, of May 23rd, approving the Economic Accord with the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country, and Law 29/2007 , of October 25th, approving the setting of the quota for the Basque Country for the 2007-2011 five-year period:

In addition, the Spanish Cabinet has remitted to the Spanish Parliament the White Paper on the Economic Agreement between the Spanish Government and the Autonomous Community of Navarra

On the 21st of November, the Plenary Session of the Spanish Senate passed the definitive version of the Constitutional Law reforming the Statute of Autonomy of Castilla y León. The text was approved by 250 votes in favour and 2 abstentions and it did not contain any variation with respect to the version that had been previously approved by the Spanish Lower Chamber. The later had approved the reform with 299 votes in favour and 13 abstentions.

Ley Orgánica 14/2007, de 30 de noviembre de reforma del Estatuto de Autonomía de Castilla y León

Decision by the Constitutional Court that there are not sufficient legal grounds for it to hear the challenges which the Governments of Aragon and Castilla-La Mancha brought against Article 17.1 of the new Statute of Autonomy of the Comunitat Valenciana. This Article refers to the right of the Valencian people to redistribute any water surplus in river basins within their territory.

 

 

 

 

  Self-Government and Public Opinion
 

Catalunya

Centre d'Estudis d'Opinió. Generalitat de Catalunya
(Documents in catalan)

Barometer of Political's Public Opinion (Baròmetre d'Opinió Política). October 2007

 

Index of Political Satisfaction in Catalonia (Índex de la Satisfacció Política a Catalunya), November 2007

 

Enquesta sobre el debat de política general 2007

  Recent Developements in Multi-Level Political Systems
 


United Kingdom

On May 3rd of this year, elections were held to the Scottish parliament and to the National Assembly for Wales, together with local elections in Scotland and England. The result of these elections, and the most visible political innovation, was the entry of the Scottish nationalists ( Scottish National Party , SNP) and Welsh nationalists ( Plaid Cymru , the Party of Wales) into their respective governmental institutions, the former alone, and the latter in coalition with the Labour Party. Furthermore, the arrival of the nationalist parties in government has had consequences in the approach to devolution itself in the countries in question, as well as in the United Kingdom as a whole.  In this line, the proposal of the SNP's Scottish government to open a debate designed to reconsider the political future of Scotland and to opt publicly for the route to independence, as they had set out in their electoral manifesto, together with the (un?)expected reactions that this proposal created among the other Scottish parties, is without doubt the clearest (though not the only) manifestation of a new logic in the relations between Scotland and the UK institutions. In the case of Wales, the Labour and nationalist coalition forged in the “Un Cymru (One Wales)” agreement, has meant the adoption of part of the Plaid Cymru manifesto – the most significant measure of which is the commitment to convert the Welsh parliamentary assembly into a parliament with full legislative powers before the end of the current term, by means of a referendum. These questions will be analysed in greater detail below.


 
 

Scotland

In the elections to the Scottish Parliament , the SNP managed to overturn the traditional supremacy of the Labour Party, winning a narrow electoral victory translated into 47 of the 129 seats in the chamber, only one seat ahead of Labour (46). The negotiations begun by the SNP with the Liberal Democrat Party (16 seats) and with the Scottish Greens (2 seats) to establish a coalition government, were held up by the question of the independence of Scotland established in the nationalist's election manifesto, The refusal of the SNP to renounce the  leading item in their electoral manifesto resulted in the Liberal Democrats refusing to form a part of the government, and the Greens agreed to limit their support to a cooperation agreement that ensured their vote in electing the first minister and their support in the formation of the government, in exchange for the SNP agreeing to adopt two points of their own manifesto: the fight against the pollution leading to climate change, and the opposition to the construction of new nuclear power stations. As a consequence, the SNP was able to form a minority government. On May 14th, Alex Salmond, the leader of the SNP, was elected in the second round as First Minister by the Scottish Parliament.


 
  grafic_esconsEscocia_des07  
 

Gràfic distribution of seats in the Scottish Parliament (1999-2003-2007). Source: Own compilation using data published in UK Election Statistics: 1945-2003. Research Paper 03/59. Library of the House of Commons,
p. 48
and Scottish Parliament Elections: 3 May 2007.
Research Paper 07/46, Library of the House of Commons p. 11.

 
  grafic_compoEscocia_des07  
 

Gràfic Composition of the 2007 Scottish Parliament (seats per party). Source: Own compilation
using data published in Scottish Parliament Elections: 3 May 2007.
Research Paper 07/46, Library of the House of Commons p. 11.

 
 

The explicit desire of the new government to increase the margin of Scotland's self-government, and to do so by openly considering the independence option, generated a joint reaction by the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, which on August 13th published a declaration in which they set out their position opposing the government's independence strategy, while declaring they were willing to begin debating the consideration of devolution itself in Scotland. The following day, the government launched their participative proposal on the future of Scotland, a proposal designed to initiate an open debate about the political definition of Scotland, expressed in the document Choosing Scotland's Future. A National Conversation. Independence and Responsibility in the modern world . The proposal establishes as a starting point the dissatisfaction with the level of autonomy enjoyed by Scotland, and as a consequence, formulates the need, at all events, to increase the level of self-government and to do so based on the choice of one of three differentiated political options: (1) the increase in the powers of the Scottish parliament and government within the terms and limits established in the  Scotland Act 1998 ; (2) the redefining of the policy of devolution established up until now, and as a consequence, the consideration of more powers for Scotland, including autonomy in matters of taxation; (3) the adoption of powers by the Scottish institutions within an independence approach that would culminate in a referendum on the question; with this option being the one which is favoured, not surprisingly, by the Scottish government.

Although it must be borne in mind that the independence project has little viability in the short or medium term, it is important to highlight the ability of the nationalist government to situate the subject of the level of Scottish political autonomy in the centre of the political debates and force the “unionist” parties to redirect their positions regarding the subject, even to the extent of distancing themselves from the political stances established by their respective organisations on a UK level.

The proposal regarding the reconsideration of Scotland's political future is, without doubt, the SNP measure that has had the greatest international repercussion.Other steps in the direction of reclaiming more self-government and redefining the position of Scottish institutions for its own citizens are hardly less indicative of the new political direction. Thus, for example, it is interesting to note the controversy aroused regarding the demand for powers in audiovisual matters (the creation of a Scottish public television channel) or in key natural resources such as oil and gas, or the demand for representation and direct access for Scottish institutions in the UK's negotiations with the European Union in fishing matters. Also controversial have been the statements by top officials in the Scottish administration about the need and/or possibility of creating Scotland's own Public Administration. The most notable change in this area has been that made by the SNP government regarding its name. Since the first of September 2007, the Scottish executive has been renamed the Scottish Government , thereby adopting the same terminology (and connotations) as the UK Government, and setting aside its legally valid name established by British legislation:  in accordance with the Scotland Act 1988, the government of Scotland is the Scottish Executive .


 
 

Wales

In Wales, the elections were held in the new political context established by the putting into effect of the measures set out in the Government of Wales Act 2006 . These measures involved, on the one hand, the formal separation between the legislative body ( National Assembly for Wales ) and the executive body ( Welsh Assembly Government ), which up until then had formed a single institution of self government, and on the other, the granting of legislative powers to the reconfigured Welsh parliament. The elections to the National Assembly for Wales resulted in a minimal victory for the Labour Party, which obtained 26 of the 60 seats in the parliament. The second parliamentary party, Plaid Cymru, obtained 15 seats, three more than in the 2003 elections; the Conservatives obtained 12 and the Liberal Democrats 6. The remaining seat making up the 60 seats was obtained by an independent candidate.


 
   
 

Gràfic Distribution of seats in the National Assembly for Wales (1999-2003-2007). Source:
Own compilation using data published in UK Election Statistics: 1945-2003. Research Paper 03/59.
Library of the House of Commons, p. 49 i Welsh Assembly Elections May 2007.
Research Paper 07/45, Library of the House of Commons p. 11-12.

 
 

grafic_compoGales_des07

 
 

Gràfic Composition of the 2007 National Assembly for Wales (seats per party).
Source: Own compilation using data published in Welsh Assembly Elections May 2007.
Research Paper 07/45, Library of the House of Commons p. 11.

 
 

Despite the fact that the first preference of the Welsh Labour Party was to form a single-party minority government, the truth was that from the beginning the alternative of a coalition government was on the table. Labour's parliamentary instability and the possibility of a pact between the opposition parties bringing them down in a hypothetical no-confidence vote contributed to the beginning of a long period of negotiations between the Welsh Labour Party and the three other parliamentary forces. The alternative for a government of national concentration occupied a good part of the negotiations. In the middle of May, the three opposition parties made public a common manifesto “ Cytundeb Cymru Gyfan (All-Wales Accord): An Agreement Establishing An All-Wales Government ” which aimed to be the pillar on which a four-party government would be constructed (A Rainbow Coalition, in allusion to the representation of all the parties in the parliamentary spectrum).  The political priorities specified in the manifesto included particularly, the commitment to an ambitious development of Welsh political self-government within the terms set by the Government of Wales Act 2006, the need to review financing, the desire to define a bilingual language policy giving both languages, English and Welsh, the status of official languages. Despite everything, faced as it was with the need to ensure power institutionally in a negotiating situation that seemed to be going on for ever, Labour  decided to take the initiative: on May 25th, the Welsh Labour leader, Rhodri Morgan, was designated First Minister by the chamber, which constituted his government. At the same time, the contacts aimed at finding a pact continued. On June 27th, the leaders of the Welsh Labour Party and Plaid Cymru came to an agreement set out in the document “ Un Cymru (One Wales) ”, which was then signed by their respective parties the following day and which maintained the same proposals as the All Wales Accord in terms of the three aforementioned topics: increasing legislative autonomy both in terms of the type of legislation (primary legislation) and of content (increasing power limits), reviewing the financing system and strengthening the Welsh language. On the basis of the agreements, Plaid Cymru came to form a part of the government ; with its leader, Ieuan Wyn Jones, becoming the Deputy First Minister.

In addition to the links indicated in the text, the information about the political developments in Scotland and Wales has been compiled using the following sources:

Devolution Monitoring , reports into the development of devolution both in the different territories and from the point of view of central government. The reports are produced every four months by the different research teams associated with the Devolution Monitoring programme.

Scotland

 

Central Government

 

Wales

 


The research notes and papers published by the House of Commons.


The Scottish Parliamentary Elections: 3 May 2007

 

The Welsh Assembly Elections May 2007

 

Devolution at the Centre (update) January- August 2007

 

UK Election Statistics: 1918-2004

 


The coverage of the current political situation in Wales and Scotland in:

News Wales

 

BBC News Scotland. Politics

 

BBC News Wales. Politics

 


Parlamentary Elections in Switzerland: Changes in the Consensus Style of Swiss Federalism?

Parliamentary elections were held in Switzerland on October 21st of this year to renew both the house of representatives (National Council, 200 seats) and the territorial house (Council of State, 46 cantons) which, have subsequently to designate the seven members that make up the Swiss Federal Council. The electoral results meant victory for the Swiss Popular Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei-Union Démocratique du Centre, SVP-UDC), which increased its number of seats in the house of representatives by seven, going from 55 to 62 seats, while the second political party, the Social Democrat Party (Sozialdemokratische Partei der Schweiz-Parti Socialiste Suisse, SP-PS), saw its representatives decrease from 52 to 43. The other two key parties in the Swiss political system, the Radical  Party (Freisinnig-Demokratische Partei Schweiz-Parti Radical-Démocratique, FDP-PRD) and the Christian Democrat Party (Christlichdemokratische Volkspartei der Schweiz-Parti Démocrate-Chrétien, CVP-PDC) had different results: the radicals lost five seats compared with 2003 (12 compared with 1999), while the Christian Democrats regained three of the seven seats lost in 2003, ending up with 31 seats. Another noteworthy aspect was the increase in the presence of the Greens, who with 20 seats, six more than in 2003, confirmed their status as the fifth political force.

 
 

grafic_suissa_des07

 
   
 

However, apart from the electoral results, the most notable aspect of these elections has been the confirmation of certain trends already emerging since the 1999 elections. These trends are: firstly, a change in the voters' traditionally stable preferences, which has led to a different configuration of the influence of the political parties in the system, especially the influence of the 4 most important parties; and secondly, and closely related to the first, a confirmation of the breaking of the traditional balance between parliamentary political forces that had been a feature of the Swiss political system up until around 2003, and which meant that the country's institutional functioning was governed by a culture of consensus and of unwritten pacts between parties, based on a great political stability.

The new configuration of the influence of political parties in the system, and the current imbalance between parliamentary forces has contributed to certain of the agreed upon rules for the functioning of the Swiss consensus federalism being cast into doubt. Following the 2003 elections, which catapulted the SVP-UDC from being a small party to being the leading parliamentary party, changes were made to the hitherto immutable pact that established that the distribution of the seven members of the executive between the parties had to respond to the so-called “magic formula”: two members of the SP-PS, two from the FDP-PRD, two from the CVP-PDC and one member from the SVP-UDC. In this sense, the SVP-UDC's new majority position meant that it had earned an extra member on the executive, at the expense of the Christian Democrats. Another hitherto immutable aspect which has been questioned by all the parties is the almost automatic re-election of all the members of the Federal Council following the parliamentary elections. In fact, this aspect became a central topic in the election campaign; the various parties opposed the re-election of the members of the executive belonging to other parties. Following the elections, the subject has continued in the political debate, and although it does not seem likely to lead to real changes (the election of the government will take place on December 12th), it nevertheless reveals that the new political power make-up is capable of jeopardising the Swiss federal oasis in the mid and long term.

For a follow-up to the current political situation in Switzerland, see the Swissinfo website

Version in Spanish

 

The versions in English, French and German are more complete:

English version

 

French version

 

German version

 

For information about the 2007 elections and those of other years, see the Swiss Parliament's website
(versions available: French, English, German and Italian).

 


Italy: The Sardinian  Statutaria Awaits the Decision of the Constitutional Court

On October 21st, the voters of Sardinia were asked to pronounce on the Satute Law , a law approved by absolute majority in the Sardinian parliament ( Consiglio Regionale ) in March 2007, and the aim of which is to adapt the Sardinian regional statute to institutionals reforms . The aim of this regional law is the establishment and regulation of the regional institutions (form of government, powers of the president and of the collegial organ of government, relations between the institutions, and types of political participation). The holding of the referendum on this law has to be understood in terms of that set out in l'article 15 of the Special Statute for Sardinia concerning the Region's institutions, and in addition it has to be understood that this referendum was held within the general context of the processes of review and reform of the regional statutes as a consequence of the constitutional reform process. The great importance that the political class attached to the so-called Statutaria, both in terms of those who supported it and those who opposed it, was not shared to the same extent by the electorate: only 15.75% of those with the right to vote did so, and of these, almost 66% voted against the motion. The contrasting interpretations of the voter turnout and the preference shown by those taking part, gave rise to a debate about the enactment of the law, which for the moment has ended up in the Corte Costituzionale .

The very low turnout led the “Yes” camp (consisting mainly of the government) to conclude that, in spite of everything, the law should be enacted; with their arguments being based on the fact that Sardinian regional law establishes that the validity of referendums is subject to a minimum turnout of at least a third of the electoral roll. Their opponents in the “No” camp, understood that the referendum was designed to confirm or otherwise the law (confermativo), that the quorum was of much less importance, given that it was the result that marked the political action:  if almost 65% had declared themselves to be against it, the law could not be enacted. The debate was taken to the Cagliari Court of Appeals (Corte d'Apello) which passed the question on to the Constitutional Court.

Sardegna Oggi

Some websites of Interest Concerning Institutional reforms in Italy:

- ASTRID (Associazione per gli Studi e le ricerche sulla Riforma delle Istituzioni Democratiche e sull'innovazione nelle amministrazioni pubbliche)

 

 

 

 

- Istituto di Studi sui Sistemi Regionali Federali e sulle Autonomie ''Massimo Severo Giannini''

 

- Els papers de recerca del Forum di Quaderni Costituzionali

 

- Estatuts regionals

 


Canada: Federal Government Spending-Power at the Centre of the Political Debate

 
“Our Government believes that the constitutional jurisdiction of each order of government should be respected. To this end, guided by our federalism of openness, our Government will introduce legislation to place formal limits on the use of the federal spending power for new shared-cost programs in areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction. This legislation will allow provinces and territories to opt out with reasonable compensation if they offer compatible programs.” 

This is a fragment from the Speech from the Throne which opened the new period of sessions of the Canadian Parliament on October 16th of this year. The content of this fragment rekindled an old debate about Canadian federalism and federalism in general: the establishing of limits to the capacity of the federal government to establish political lines of action in matters of exclusive provincial jurisdiction by means of joint programmes that have federal financing.

The debate is divided into three camps: those who believe that the federal government cannot consider subsidies of this kind in matters of exclusive and/or shared jurisdiction (Quebec), those who believe that there is a need to establish limits and that these have to be legislative in nature (as the federal government proposes), and those who believe that the limits to this federal financing capacity would mean the end of the federally controlled social policies and social rights existing throughout the territory (for instance, the Child Care programme). The rekindling of the debate has prompted the Institute for Intergovernmental Relations at Queen's University (Kingston, Ontario) to organise a conference on the subject, Open Federalism and Spending Power , which will take place on January 25th and 26th 2008.

For further information about the general debate over the Speech from the Throne , see for example the following link:

 


Australia

The federal elections on November 24th led to a change in majorities, with the victory of the Labour party obtaining 84 of the 150 seats of the House of Representatives. The 2004 elections had led to the victory of the Coalition, the name given to the coalition government arising from the semi-permanent agreement between the two Non-Labour parties in Australia, the Liberal Party and the National Party. Following the 2004 elections however, a government was formed consisting of a Coalition of three parties: the Liberals, with 74 seats in the House of Representatives, (the party of the ex-Prime Minister, John Howard); the National Party, with 12 seats, and the Country Liberal Party, with only one seat. Altogether they formed a majority of 87 seats in a parliament of 150 members, and where the opposition, the Labour Party, had 60 seats. The Coalition had also obtained a majority in the Senate, with the result that for the first time in two decades, both houses of parliament were in the hands of the same majority. The provisional results of the 2007 elections to the Senate indicate that this situation will not be repeated in this new session, since the Coalition parties seem to have retained control of this house.

- Website of the Australian Electoral Commission . Information about electoral results.

 
  Some Articles on Federal Issues
 

Michele Belletti. "Criteri seguiti dalla Consulta nella definizione delle competenze di Stato e Regioni ed il superamento del riparto per materie".

 

Roberto Bin i Ilenia Ruggiu. "Rappresentanza territoriale in Italia". A Forum di Quaderni Costituzionali.

 

"Federalism, Not Partition”, article published in the Washington Post about the possible institutional solutions in Iraq.

 

Ivan Serrano. "Escòcia: el pendent cap a la independència?".

 
  Recent Publications of Interest
 


Wettbewerb versus Kooperation: Der Reformbedarf des deutschen Föderalismus - Eine vergleichende Perspektive. Competition versus Cooperation: German Federalism in Need of Reform - a Comparative Perspective

Ralf Thomas Baus, Raoul Blindenbacher, Ulrich Karpen. Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, 2007.

Dialogues on Local Government and Metropolitan Regions in Federal Countries
Raoul Blindenbacher and Chandra Pasma. Global Dialogue on Federalism Booklet Series, 6. McGill-Queen's University Press, 2007.

Dialogues sur les relations extérieures dans les pays fédéraux
Raoul Blindenbacher et Chandra Pasma (dir.). Global Dialogue on Federalism Countries, 5. Mc Gill-Queen's University Press, 2007.

Multinational Federations
Michael Burgess and John Pinder (ed.). Routledge, 2007.

The constitutional systems of the Australian States and territories
Gerard Carney. Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Integrazione europea e asimmetrie regionali modelli a confronto
Guerino D'Ignazio. Giuffrè Editore, 2007.

Statuti Atto II. Le Regioni e la nuova stagione statutaria
G. Di Cosimo (a cura de). EUM, 2007.

Explaining Federalism: State, Society and Congruence in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany and Switzerland
Jan Erk. Routledge Series in Federal Studies. Routledge, 2007.

American federalism: a concise introduction
Larry N. Gerston. M. E. Sharpe Inc. Publishers, 2007.

El proceso autonómico ante la igualdad en el ejercicio de los derechos constitucionales
Mª Isabel González Pascual. Instituto Vasco de Administración Pública, 2007.

Why not Parties in Russia?: Democracy, Federalism, and the State
Henry E. Hale. Cambridge University Press, 2007.

La financiación del Estado de las autonomías: perspectivas de futuro
Santiago Lago Peñas. Instituto de Estudios Fiscales, 2007.

Diritto Regionale
Giovanni Masciocchi. G. Giappichelli Editore, 2007.

Derecho público de las Comunidades Autónomas (Tomo II)
Santiago Muñoz Machado. Iustel, 2007.

Financiación autonómica local y sectorial en el nuevo Estatuto de Cataluña
Joan Pagès Galtés. Marcial Pons, 2007.

La Repubblica delle autonomie nella giurisprudenza costituzionale: Regioni ed enti locali dopo la riforma del Titolo V
Alessandro Pioggia, Luciano Vandelli (coord.). Società editrice Il Mulino, 2007.

Federalismo plurinacional y pluralismo de valores. El caso español
Ferran Requejo Coll. Centro de Estudios Políticos y Constitucionales, 2007.

El principio dispositivo en el Estado autonómico
Enric Fossas Espadaler. Marcial Pons, 2007.

Curs de Dret Públic de Catalunya. Comentari a l'Estatut
Joan Ridao. Ariel - Escola d'Administració Pública de Catalunya, 2007.

The Practice of Fiscal Federalism: Comparative Perspectives
Anwar Shah (ed.). Global Dialogue on Federalism Booklet Series, 4. McGill-Queen's University Press, 2007.

Lenguas y Constitucion
Jaume Vernet Llobet, Ramon Punset Blanco. Iustel, 2007.

Las competencias en inmigración del Estado y de las Comunidades Autónomas
María del Camino Vidal Fueyo, José Antonio Montilla Martos. Centro de Estudios Políticos y Constitucionales, 2007.