Constitution Digest

News and announcements from the Comparative Constitutions Project

March 25, 2016

Australian Prime Minister compels a parliamentary session with rarely-used procedure. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull resorted to a scarcely-used constitutional procedure in order to arrange for a special session of parliament in April, which will force the legislature to reconsider several items on Turnbull's legislative agenda. Turnbull arranged for the special session by asking the Governor General to exercise his constitutional authority to prorogue and recall parliament, which requires the recessed legislature to convene to hear a national address and consider new business.
Malaysian high court upholds ban on non-Muslim attorneys in Sharia courts. On Thursday, the highest judicial body in Malaysia upheld a rule banning non-Muslim attorneys from practicing in Sharia courts. The majority reasoned that Sharia courts—which only have jurisdiction over Muslims—must be capable of enforcing their laws and rules on lawyers, while all five judges agreed that the prohibition does not violate the constitutional guarantee of equality regardless of religion.
Senegalese plebiscite cuts presidential terms from 7 to 5 years. While a number of African countries have lengthened presidential terms in recent years, 63% of voters in Senegal approved constitutional reforms that will cut presidential terms from seven to five years, beginning in 2019. Most analysts see Tuesday's vote as a referendum on incumbent President Macky Sall, who initially promised to reduce his own term and then reversed course, instead proposing that the changes take effect at the end of this current seven-year term.
For more news, visit our partners at ConstitutionNet.
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