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The Legitimacy of the parliament: an ongoing challenge, effort and process by Andreas Gross (Switzerland) (Political Scientist, MP, PACE)

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Presentation on theme: "The Legitimacy of the parliament: an ongoing challenge, effort and process by Andreas Gross (Switzerland) (Political Scientist, MP, PACE)"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Legitimacy of the parliament: an ongoing challenge, effort and process by Andreas Gross (Switzerland) (Political Scientist, MP, PACE) at the Roundtable of the Joint Initiative of CoE & EAR to Support Parliamentary Institutions in Serbia and Montenegro « The Role of Parliament and the Separation of Powers » Belgrade, july 6 th 2006

2 Legitimacy is one of the most difficult and precious assets of political institutions and actions  you act, supposing a consent of the majority of those concerned without being able to ask them all directly and immediately

3 Legitimacy is an result of an ongoing process and effort You need to think multidimensional and in a complex way:  Formal legitimacy (rule of law)  Out-put legitimacy (fairness of decisions)  Context legitimacy (Respect to losers/minorities)

4 The legitimacy of the Parliament depends on different acts The institutional design of the P. (representation of minorities, opposition parties) The institutional design of the P. (representation of minorities, opposition parties) The way it was elected (Proportional, open or closed list, The way it was elected (Proportional, open or closed list, quorum, free&fair ?) The way it works (Transparency, autonomy from the government, resources, rights of the opposition) The way it works (Transparency, autonomy from the government, resources, rights of the opposition) What kind of decisions it takes What kind of decisions it takes (In the interest of whom ? After listening to whom ?)

5 The Parliament has different, in itself contradictorial tasks – it’s legitimacy depends of it’s ability to balance them It needs to represent the society It needs to represent the society It needs to be able to build a clear and sustainable maj.&gov. It needs to be able to build a clear and sustainable maj.&gov. It needs to be able to control the use of power It needs to be able to control the use of power It has to deliberate the questions, the society is concerned about It has to deliberate the questions, the society is concerned about It needs to be able to pass the laws, the society needs, in time It needs to be able to pass the laws, the society needs, in time

6 The legitimacy of Parliament increases, if it shares the sovereignty with the people and does not ask for the monopole of power Elections are only a partial transfer Elections are only a partial transfer of sovereignty in time A minority of the citizens should have the right to ask, that the people may decide on important matters A minority of the citizens should have the right to ask, that the people may decide on important matters Another minority of the citizens should have the right to propose laws and legislative reforms Another minority of the citizens should have the right to propose laws and legislative reforms The better Direct Democracy is developed the more representative Representative Democracy becomes The better Direct Democracy is developed the more representative Representative Democracy becomes Also in a proportional system the citizens should have the right to influence the ranking of the list and they should be allowed to combine them – in order to avoid too much power in the party-hierarchies and alienation between citizens and institutions Also in a proportional system the citizens should have the right to influence the ranking of the list and they should be allowed to combine them – in order to avoid too much power in the party-hierarchies and alienation between citizens and institutions

7 The legitimacy of Parliament increases if the opposition parties have strong rights Weekly public Q&A time to any Ministers Weekly public Q&A time to any Ministers A minority of MP’s should have the right to ask for an actual debate every week for 3hours and public hearings A minority of MP’s should have the right to ask for an actual debate every week for 3hours and public hearings A qualified minority should have the right to ask for a Parliam. Investigation Committee A qualified minority should have the right to ask for a Parliam. Investigation Committee A qualified minority has the right to ask the confidence to the government and evt. new elections A qualified minority has the right to ask the confidence to the government and evt. new elections Every MP should have the right to propose legislative acts and the Parliament should have the right to realize them even without or against the Gov. Every MP should have the right to propose legislative acts and the Parliament should have the right to realize them even without or against the Gov.

8 The legitimacy of Parliament increases if the other powers can balance it’s powers A strong democracy is not a zero-sum-game. It needs : Active citizens in a strong civil society A strong, critical and initiative Parliament A strong and responsive Government An effective and independent Constitutional Court

9 The legitimacy of Parliament increases if the other powers can balance it’s powers A strong democracy is not a zero-sum-game. It needs : Active citizens in a strong civil society A strong, critical and initiative Parliament A strong and responsive Government An effective and independent Constitutional Court

10 The legitimacy of Parliament increases if the autonomy of every member is guaranteed   The smaller the resources of the P., the bigger the powers of the lobbies and org. interests   The worse the salary of the MP’s, the worse the quality of their work and the higher the corruption   The stronger their individual rights, the smaller the power of few party or union or group bosses


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