Constitution Digest

News and announcements from the Comparative Constitutions Project

July 15, 2016

Japan's ruling coalition wins supermajority in parliamentary elections. Japanese voters delivered Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition a larger-than-expected victory in Sunday's parliamentary elections, which could allow Abe to pursue plans to amend the country's constitutional prohibition of war. Public opinion is split on the issue and Abe is now in a tenuous position, as many of his conservative supporters expect him to advocate for the amendments while others fear that a constitutional battle would detract from efforts to improve the country's flagging economy.
Canadian Supreme Court orders speedier trial system. In a ruling last Friday, the Supreme Court of Canada established new time limits for the completion of criminal cases, requiring that prosecutions be concluded in 18 months in provincial courts or 30 months in superior courts, in order to satisfy the constitutional guarantee of a timely trial. The dissent argued that the new framework may lead to the dismissal of thousands of cases.
The Gambia and Tanzania outlaw child marriage. Last week, Gambian President Yahya Jemmah announced lengthy prison sentences for spouses, parents, and others involved in child marriages, while the Tanzanian High Court declared child marriages unconstitutional. The new rules are aimed at cutting down the staggering number of child marriages in the countries: in the The Gambia, 30% of girls under the age of 18 are married, and in Tanzania, 37% of underage girls are married.
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