In the April newsletter we present our readers with four original Voices from the Field and a number of updates on constitutional reform processes around the world. Current Polish government plans introduction of legislative changes seriously undermining independence of judiciary and separation of powers in the country. All these changes are to be introduced through regular legislative process without amending the Constitution what raises general doubts as to whether constitution designers should leave crucial details, such as rules regulating basic aspects of functioning of the constitutional court or the judicial council, for legislative completion. Pakistan has recently passed a reform aimed at moving it towards ‘true’, ‘meaningful’ and ‘participatory’ federalism to counter the dominance of Punjab in the National Assembly. As the proposal does not introduce fair power sharing, consensus-based democracy and meaningful devolution of power to the provinces, it is considered to be a tactical political step by the ruling party in view of the 2018 elections, rather than a genuine reform. The Moldovan President has proposed constitutional amendments to enhance the powers of the presidency vis-à-vis the Parliament. If adopted, these changes may disrupt the constitutional balance and provoke a political crisis in the country. In Nepal lack of political consensus has hampered constitutional transition to federalism. The survival of the constitutional project requires the atonement of raw political positioning on the part of the main opposition party and the acceptance of incremental changes by the agitating Madhes-based parties and Federal Alliance.
The remaining updates cover a range of issues in countries ranging from Syria to Kosovo and from Libya to Paraguay, providing an excellent overview of recent constitutional developments around the globe.