Immediate participation of citizens in the process of changing constitution Cover Image

Neposredno učešće građana u postupku promene ustava
Immediate participation of citizens in the process of changing constitution

Author(s): Maja Nastić
Subject(s): Law, Constitution, Jurisprudence, Constitutional Law, Civil Society, Public Law
Published by: Fondacija Centar za javno pravo
Keywords: Public law; constitution; citizens; changes; amending process; amendment; legal instruments; Republic of Serbia;
Summary/Abstract: Bearing in mind the announced changes of the Constitution of Serbia, the focal point of this paper is the role of the citizens in this process, namely the possibilities and legal instruments that are available to citizens in the amending process. The Constitution of Serbia (2006) emphasizes at the outset the role of the citizens. Sovereignity is vested in citizens who exercise it through referendums, people’s initiative and freely elected representatives. (art. 2). People’s initiative authorizes the certain part of electorate to initiate the procedure for amending the Constitution. The initiative for amending the Constitution of Serbia may be submitted by at least 150,000 voters. This makes the role of citizens more difficult than it was in the previuos Constitution (1990). When we have in mind the relevant provisions contained in law, the realization of this right is additionally hampered by short deadlines and additional obligations of initiators. The role of the citizens in the process of amending constitution is more prominent when it comes to the referendum. The Constitution of Serbia recognizes mandatory and optional referendum. Although the Constitution narrows the possibilities for issuing a compulsory referendum, it is required for all the most important issues. But, the most important novelty that the Constitution brings about is the adoption of a decision. The amendment to the Constitution shall be adopted if the majority of voters who participated in the referendum voted in favor of the amendment. In this way, it is much easier to amend the Constituton than it used to be. In the upcoming referendum, it is very important to adhere the Recommendation made by Venice Commission in order to achieve the real will of citizens and not to manifest the manipulative potential of the referendum. We can conclude that direct participation in amending the Constitution is much more difficult in the existing Constitution, than it used to be. The Constitution (2006) significally raised the therehold for submitting people’s initiative and it could be amended (in some specific parts) only by voting in the National Assembly. These solutions have weakened the position of citizens in terms of thier direct participion in the amending Constitution.

  • Page Count: 14
  • Publication Year: 2017
  • Language: Serbian