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Two decisions on the same day?

Chapter 23

Two decisions on the same day?

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At the polls in 2017. the citizens will have to confirm the changes to the Constitution. The option is for a referendum to be held alongside the presidential election.

Citizens of Serbia could go to the polls twice next year – to elect the new president and to confirm changes to the Constitution that are necessary in the process of negotiations with the European Union by referendum. According to our information it is possible for the presidential elections, which fall in the spring, and the referendum on the Constitution to be held on the same day.

The changes to the highest legal act over the next year were recently announced by the Minister of Justice Nela Kuburović but she did not specifically talk about deadlines. Member of Parliament and vice president of SNS Marija Obradović says for “Novosti” that decision has not been reached on whether the constitutional referendum will be organized alongside presidential elections.

  • We have not yet discussed this – says Obradović.

Political analyst Dragoljub Anđelković believes that both possibilities are currently open to us:

– The referendum can be held alongside elections but when it comes to this decision we should not take savings into consideration because this is an extremely important matter. With the right campaign the politicians could provide sufficient voter turnout and support for changes to the highest legal act without connecting this to presidential elections. The most important thing is that the constitutional changes are well prepared and that they do not affect the provisions about Kosovo and Metohija.

He points out that given the fact that we have a „hard“ Constitution for the change of which a two-third majority and referendum is necessary, all necessary changes should be included not just those that are currently necessary. According to Antonijević those are the provisions concerning the objections of the Venice Commission, especially in the field of human rights.

OBLIGATION

Deadline for the amendments to the Constitution concerning the judiciary is envisaged by the Draft of the Action Plan for Chapter 23 in negotiations with the EU. By adopting this Draft Serbia assumed the obligation for the National Assembly to adopt these changes by the end of 2017.

As the Vice President of the Government Ivica Dačić said changing the preamble will not be the theme, and the changes to the Constitution that need to be completed during the next year relate to the parts of the judiciary.

– Chapter 23 envisages the amendments of the provisions concerning the independence of the judiciary and the prosecution – explains Antonijevic, coordinator of the working troups for Chapter 23 and Chapter 24. -This refers to the composition of the High Judicial Council and State Prosecutorioal Council and election of its members, in order to exclude political influence. The most important change is that the minister will no longer be a member of these bodies.

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