Venice Commission recommends bicameralism and safeguard gender perspective, parity and indigenous rights in the CC

Venice Commission recommends bicameralism and safeguard gender perspective, parity and indigenous rights in the CC

On January 5, a group of 23 senators requested a statement from the Venice Commission – a European advisory body – on the Chilean constitutional process. In February, a delegation traveled to Chile made up of the former president of this body, Gianni Buquicchio; the general secretary of this commission, Simona Granata-Menghini; also the coordinator Serguei Kouznetsov; in addition to the rapporteurs Paolo Carozza and Joseph Castellá.

Thus, they worked on a pre-report, which was released this Tuesday, which was ratified this Friday in a plenary session of the commission, with some extra details.

The Venice Commission clarified in the document that during the preparation of the report, “there is still no finalized or consolidated text of the new Constitution of Chile. In these circumstances, the Commission’s responses to the Senate’s questions cannot but be more quite abstract and general.

Regarding Congress, the instance pointed out that “there is no general rule for or against” unicameralism and bicameralism, but it did underline that the bicameral system considers the principle of checks and balances, and that “every highly decentralized state needs a second chamber that guarantees the dialogue between the center and the periphery”.

It states that bicameralism “is often a response to regional differences, multi-ethnicity and multiculturalism. In a society in which these aspects acquire greater importance, bicameralism is recommendable”, but also emphasizes that “the reform of the second Chamber has been more frequent than its suppression”, in the midst of the position of some constituents of advancing towards a bicameralism, but asymmetric, without re-editing the Senate.

Regarding the Constitutional Court, he recommends maintaining it, since he says that this platform has “favored the establishment of a separate and specialized Constitutional Court, especially in the newer democracies.” He also advocates for the defense of the independence of the judiciary, and also for safeguarding the gender perspective and parity in the jurisdictional system. Added to this is the evaluation of the incorporation of reserved seats in Parliament, a point that the majority of the Convention has defended, but with the rejection of the right.

The Venice Commission also specified that the binary option in the exit plebiscite – approval and rejection – does not exclude the possibility of a third way, that is, multiple options. However, he stressed that the rules established on the exit plebiscite “are currently clear” for citizens, so “changing these rules would run the risk of transgressing the principle of legal certainty.” The foregoing, before the consultation of the senators to be able to include a third option in that process.

“The opinion of the Venice Commission is that if the possibility of a third option is offered, it should be through political commitments of the relevant political actors to carry out a genuine reform after the plebiscite, rather than changing the terms of the formal review process at this stage,” he added.

The senator and president of Renovación Nacional, Francisco Chahuán, valued the report and called for “understanding that the Constitution must be a house for all and not a partisan Constitution, and of course we believe without a doubt that the conventional constitutional process must contribute to generate legal certainties”, highlighting the signs regarding the parliamentary regime.

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