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Japan: Shinzō Abe wins a new mandate

25-10-2017

Shinzō Abe won the snap elections he called for the lower house on 22 October 2017. Despite her popularity, Tokyo's governor Yuriko Koike failed to convince the electorate to oust a prime minister in charge since December 2012. The newly created Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan became the main opposition force in the House of Representatives. In coalition with Kōmeitō, Abe's Liberal Democratic Party holds a two-thirds majority enabling it to pass constitutional amendments.

Shinzō Abe won the snap elections he called for the lower house on 22 October 2017. Despite her popularity, Tokyo's governor Yuriko Koike failed to convince the electorate to oust a prime minister in charge since December 2012. The newly created Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan became the main opposition force in the House of Representatives. In coalition with Kōmeitō, Abe's Liberal Democratic Party holds a two-thirds majority enabling it to pass constitutional amendments.

Oversight of the US executive: The Congressional experience and its lessons for the EU

31-10-2016

Based largely on a set of interviews with policy practitioners and observers in Washington DC, this analysis aims first to examine the instruments and system for oversight of the US Administration by the US Congress, and then to draw comparisons with the equivalent instruments and systems in the European Union, and in the European Parliament in particular. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format Available language versions:  

Based largely on a set of interviews with policy practitioners and observers in Washington DC, this analysis aims first to examine the instruments and system for oversight of the US Administration by the US Congress, and then to draw comparisons with the equivalent instruments and systems in the European Union, and in the European Parliament in particular. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format Available language versions:  

Role of the US Congress in trade agreements: The 'Fast-Track' procedure

01-03-2016

Since 1974 the United States Congress has enacted several Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) acts to ensure speedy ratification of trade agreements in the United States, while maintaining a congressional hold on the objectives to be pursued by US negotiators. TPA defines the conditions and procedures for using a streamlined or expedited procedure, also known as the fast-track procedure, to vote in Congress on international trade agreements negotiated during a specific defined period of time. The current ...

Since 1974 the United States Congress has enacted several Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) acts to ensure speedy ratification of trade agreements in the United States, while maintaining a congressional hold on the objectives to be pursued by US negotiators. TPA defines the conditions and procedures for using a streamlined or expedited procedure, also known as the fast-track procedure, to vote in Congress on international trade agreements negotiated during a specific defined period of time. The current (2015) Trade Promotion Authority Act, which was finally passed in June 2015, sets out the rules for the expedited procedures applicable to any international agreement entered into by the US before 1 July 2018 (with possible extension up to 1 July 2021), covering inter alia the recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership and any agreement stemming from the ongoing Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations. The TPA requirements in terms of negotiating objectives and consultation have constantly evolved to match the rising political need of Congress to exert greater control over the outcomes of US trade negotiations.

The US President's State of the Union Address

04-09-2015

Since 2010, the European Parliament holds an annual State of the Union debate in the September plenary session, in which the President of the European Commission delivers an address taking stock of the current year and looking at future priorities. The EU State of the Union address is largely modelled on the US President's annual address to Congress. Every January, the President of the United States presents his policy priorities to Congress. The speech, called the State of the Union Address, has ...

Since 2010, the European Parliament holds an annual State of the Union debate in the September plenary session, in which the President of the European Commission delivers an address taking stock of the current year and looking at future priorities. The EU State of the Union address is largely modelled on the US President's annual address to Congress. Every January, the President of the United States presents his policy priorities to Congress. The speech, called the State of the Union Address, has evolved over time. Originally designed as a lengthy administrative report, it is today a strategic political instrument. Indeed, empirical evidence suggests that the State of the Union Address is a major tool in the hands of the President to set the tone for the upcoming congressional session. Moreover, because the address is broadcast on television and radio, and more recently web-streamed, the President can potentially reach all US citizens and thereby influence public opinion with the aim of gaining support for future actions. It is not an easy task to assess the political impact of this instrument as there are many variables. With that in mind, on the one hand, academic research argues that a reasonable proportion of policy proposals mentioned in the address have been enacted by Congress over the years; on the other hand, the State of the Union Address rarely seems to affect the President's approval rating.

Transparency, Public Consultation Practices and Government Accountability in U.S. Rulemaking

31-07-2015

This paper provides basic information on transparency, public participation and government accountability in U.S. rulemaking procedures, in constitutional and historical context. Under the U.S. Administrative Procedure Act, regulatory agencies must (1) provide the public with sufficient specific information about a regulatory proposal to fairly apprise interested parties of the subjects and issues involved so that they may present responsive data or arguments, and (2) consider, analyze and address ...

This paper provides basic information on transparency, public participation and government accountability in U.S. rulemaking procedures, in constitutional and historical context. Under the U.S. Administrative Procedure Act, regulatory agencies must (1) provide the public with sufficient specific information about a regulatory proposal to fairly apprise interested parties of the subjects and issues involved so that they may present responsive data or arguments, and (2) consider, analyze and address significant public comments when issuing any final rule.

Išorės autorius

Rachel Shub, Office of the United States Trade Representative

Political parties in Uzbekistan

07-07-2015

Uzbekistan has a presidential system of government. The president, Islam Karimov, has played a principal role in all areas of the political landscape since independence in 1991. Although some recent steps empower the legislature against the executive, all political parties represented in parliament are pro-regime and far from providing political alternatives.

Uzbekistan has a presidential system of government. The president, Islam Karimov, has played a principal role in all areas of the political landscape since independence in 1991. Although some recent steps empower the legislature against the executive, all political parties represented in parliament are pro-regime and far from providing political alternatives.

Kyrgyzstan: political situation

17-04-2015

The Kyrgyz Republic is the only Central Asian state in which power has transferred peacefully, following the April 2010 political uprising against the regime of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. Since the adoption of a constitution paving the way for a democratic and pluralist system, Kyrgyzstan has been governed by coalitions of the political parties represented in the parliament. The prime minister's office is gaining in influence, whereas the president's authority has been circumscribed.

The Kyrgyz Republic is the only Central Asian state in which power has transferred peacefully, following the April 2010 political uprising against the regime of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. Since the adoption of a constitution paving the way for a democratic and pluralist system, Kyrgyzstan has been governed by coalitions of the political parties represented in the parliament. The prime minister's office is gaining in influence, whereas the president's authority has been circumscribed.

Kazakhstan: political situation

17-04-2015

The Republic of Kazakhstan has a presidential form of government characterised by a monopoly of the executive branch and limited parliamentary power. Since independence in 1991, progress in Kazakhstan in terms of democratisation, human rights and the rule of law have not matched its economic development. As Kazakhstan approaches another snap presidential election on 26 April 2015, uncertainty about the political situation in the country continues.

The Republic of Kazakhstan has a presidential form of government characterised by a monopoly of the executive branch and limited parliamentary power. Since independence in 1991, progress in Kazakhstan in terms of democratisation, human rights and the rule of law have not matched its economic development. As Kazakhstan approaches another snap presidential election on 26 April 2015, uncertainty about the political situation in the country continues.

Future scenarios for US-Cuba relations

09-02-2015

On 17 December 2014, US President, Barack Obama, announced the start of a new phase in US-Cuba relations. The US embargo to Cuba has been in place for more than 50 years. International opposition to the embargo has grown since the beginning of the 1990s when US embargo legislation started to present extraterritorial implications. More recently, domestic support for the embargo has also started fading. US economic interest in the island has risen since Cuba became an importer of US agricultural products ...

On 17 December 2014, US President, Barack Obama, announced the start of a new phase in US-Cuba relations. The US embargo to Cuba has been in place for more than 50 years. International opposition to the embargo has grown since the beginning of the 1990s when US embargo legislation started to present extraterritorial implications. More recently, domestic support for the embargo has also started fading. US economic interest in the island has risen since Cuba became an importer of US agricultural products, and a series of economic policy reforms were introduced by the Castro government opening the way toward a mixed economy model. In this context and after successfully concluding a prisoner-exchange deal with Cuba, President Obama announced a period of normalisation. This normalisation process will most probably be constrained by the still strong opposition from Congress. The powers and discretion of the President to modify the embargo rules are limited by legislation dating back to the 1990s. Radical changes in relations between the two countries will therefore be dependent on Congress's willingness to amend or completely revoke embargo legislation. Opposition to major changes in the embargo rules is still strong in Congress, as political reforms in Cuba have lagged behind economic policy changes. This is likely to lead to a slower and more prudent process for dismantling the embargo. The maintenance of the main embargo legislation means that some of the rules with extraterritorial implications will remain in place. In particular, the rules from the 1996 Helms Burton Act and Section 211 of the 1998 Omnibus Appropriations Act that the EU had challenged in the past will, for the moment, remain in place.

Comparative Analysis between the Constitutional Processes in Egypt and Tunisia - Lessons Learnt. Overview of the Constitutional Situation in Libya

15-04-2014

The 2014 Constitutions of Egypt and Tunisia, though enacted at the same time and as a consequence of very similar revolutionary forces, are different in style and content. Egypt has fallen back to the structures of the 1971 Constitution and will likely experience further restoration of the authoritarian presidentialism. The Armed Forces continue to play a dominant background role in the political and constitutional life of the country. Tunisia seems to have embraced a new constitutional paradigm ...

The 2014 Constitutions of Egypt and Tunisia, though enacted at the same time and as a consequence of very similar revolutionary forces, are different in style and content. Egypt has fallen back to the structures of the 1971 Constitution and will likely experience further restoration of the authoritarian presidentialism. The Armed Forces continue to play a dominant background role in the political and constitutional life of the country. Tunisia seems to have embraced a new constitutional paradigm that is based on a modern approach to human rights protection and a balanced institutional framework that provides for substantial checks and balances between the three branches of government. The constitutional drafting process in Libya is overshadowed by a pronounced lack of security, the absence of functioning state institutions, societal fragmentation, and the uneven distribution of natural wealth. National reconciliation is a key precondition of successful political and constitutional transition but the process has to date been a very difficult one. There are indications, however, that stakeholders in Libya are trying to build consensus on important aspects of the process. The 1951 Constitution, based on a federal framework, offers the best conceptual framework for the recently elected Constituent Assembly. Unlike Egypt and Tunisia, Libya might opt for a parliamentary form of government rather than a semi-presidential system.

Išorės autorius

Jörg FEDTKE (Tulane University Law School, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA)

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