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Necessity to amend the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia: position and importance of the National Assembly

12.03.2014

Scheduling pre-term parliamentary elections and forming a new government in the first quarter of 2014 make an excellent opportunity to form a legislature which will initiate an inclusive public debate on constitutional reform as soon as the Assembly is constituted. Key political factors emphasize that negotiations with the EU are to be completed by the year 2018, which will not be possible until Serbia changes its constitutional framework, particularly in the parts regulating the election of judges and a transfer of sovereignty clause.
In the adopted National Judicial Reform Strategy from 2013, Serbian Ministry of Justice and Public Administration clearly pointed out the necessity to change the constitutional framework. Civil society organizations and independent legal and political experts are increasingly calling attention to the necessity of changing the Constitution, which would enable the political community in Serbia to finally achieve its democratic consolidation. Finally, international organizations like the European Union or the Council of Europe have more than once pointed to inconsistencies in the present Constitution and that it is necessary to harmonize it with the achieved European standards.
There is no significant polarization among the Serbian political public concerning the issue of constitutional revision. With the exception of the Democratic Party of Serbia, all parliamentary parties agree that either certain constitutional norms or the entire Constitution should be changed. The issue of the constitutional revision is therefore no longer a matter political will, but rather of a politically adequate moment in which this important process will be initiated. Experience gained from the negotiation process between Montenegro and the EU and two amendments of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia before it became a full EU member in 2004 further corroborate statements and assessments that constitutional revision is necessary. These circumstances and defused tensions in the process of normalization of relations between Belgrade and Priština after signing and implementation of the Brussels Agreement were also favorable. At the same time, the Constitutional Court of Serbia ruled that certain provisions of the Statute of Vojvodina are unconstitutional and ordered that amendments be made within the next six months, which brought forward the question of necessary amendments in the bad and patchy text of the Constitution.
In accordance with provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, chief institution in the process of constitutional revision is the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia as supreme representative body of all Serbian citizens. The aim of this paper is to point to key elements which concern this legislative body and its role in the process of constitutional revision. These elements are: the role of the National Assembly in constitutional revision, changes in the composition of the...

 

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