CONSTITUTIONAL STABILITY AND DYNAMICS IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC

Jan Grinc

Abstract


This article discusses the stability and dynamics of the Czech constitution, especially the ‘frame of government’. First, the circumstances of the adoption of the Czech Constitution from 1993 are described, as well as the initial problems with the implementation of bicameralism. Second, the rigidity of the constitution in formal and material sense is analysed. Here, the article demonstrates that the procedural rules for adopting constitutional acts (qualified majorities in both chambers of the Parliament) have to be considered in connection with the electoral and political system in the Czech Republic in order to get a good picture. By an overview of constitutional acts adopted since 1993, it is shown that the constitutional system has not been subject to major changes and remained rather stable. Two important exceptions, i.e. moments of constitutional development are discussed in detail: the cancellation of early election in the Chamber of Deputies by the annulment of a constitutional act by the Constitutional Court and the introduction of direct election of the President of the Republic and its impact. In both cases, the lack of governmental control over the dissolution of the Chamber of Deputies—arguably the weakest point of the constitutional system—amplified the political crises in the short-term, but did not prevent the return to regular functioning of the parliamentary system. The article, therefore, comes to the conclusion that the Czech constitution is rather stable and functional. The rules ensuring its rigidity have been successful and may serve as an inspiration from the comparative perspective.

Keywords


Constitution; Czech Republic; Constitutional Change; Constitutional Rigidity

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13165/j.icj.2019.05.003

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