parliamentarism

Post photo: Hungarian Parliament | © Pixabay

In the European Union we all live in parliamentary democracies, and the end of these is becoming ever more apparent. We no longer even have to point fingers at Hungary or Poland, but can now confidently look around in our own environment.

The European Parliament should be mentioned first, since for us Union citizens it should have long since been the legislative assembly for all matters relating to the European level. Due to our current federal structures, there are also the respective national parliaments, and in Germany there are also state, regional, district and municipal parliaments.

What all parliaments in the system of democratic parliamentarianism have in common, and this also differs significantly from, for example, the Chinese People's Congress or the Russian Duma, is that representatives elected by the people meet to pass laws, i.e. to decide on legislation; the wonderful word for it is legislature.

In addition, the respective parliament elects the corresponding government, controls it and, at the latest, routinely dismisses it; In fact, it is not intended that different parliaments will elect the same government over and over again for decades — no one, let alone a head of government, can be that good.

It is interesting that one of the oldest democracies, namely the United States of America, introduced a corresponding limit from the beginning. Even more interesting is that Professional politician, which were actually never provided for in parliamentarism itself, are meanwhile scurrying from one parliament to the next in order to overturn these limitations.

However, one thing applies to all parliaments in federal structures, namely that the legislature must only pass laws that correspond to their respective federal level and corresponding responsibility towards the citizen. The more complex the federal system is, the greater the resulting challenges (who decides what?) for our representatives, and it has been quite obvious that many of our representatives have not been able to meet these challenges for a long time.

Another challenge for our parliaments is to recognize what needs to be decided and when in order to move our country forward or to protect it from greater damage. By the 1960s at the latest, an immigration law would have had to be passed in our country, infrastructure and new education legislation would have been due by the 1990s at the latest, as well as viable social legislation; a sustainable environmental protection policy would still have made a difference in the 1970s.

However, our parliaments have not accepted such challenges for a long time. Hardly any member of parliament would like to work through another legislative period in order to get a law on the way that saves society and the world, but they would rather shimmy through the decades from one legislature to the next, if possible at the end of their parliamentary life to spread their wisdom in well-endowed honorary posts.

The really bad thing about it is that many are still proud of it and like to tell everyone that a "real politician" only takes notice of problems when the Bildzeitung has already dealt with these problems in several editions.

In this way, the procrastination of decisions has been elevated across party lines from professional politics to a raison d'être, and only when there is nothing more productive to decide does everyone celebrate for it. The only "success criterion" are the costs that the taxpayer is saddled with - the higher these are, the more important the responsible politician is.

Over the years I've only seen one honest answer on this, and that's from Jean-Claude Juncker, who said that while you know what to decide, you don't know how you're going to be re-elected afterwards.

Probably because our parliaments have not been able to meet at least these two challenges mentioned above for a long time, and the challenges facing society as a whole are becoming ever greater and more urgent, many executives feel compelled to initiate decisions and watch them themselves, contrary to the credo of the separation of powers and all democratic principles fell.

In the event that the parliaments notice it, the only thing left to do is subsequently approve government decisions; COVID-19 and BREXIT can serve as current examples.

One could now unkink and this in connection with an ever-increasing Bundestag because the more claquere afterwards approve government decisions with frenetic applause, the greater their democratic legitimacy in the eyes of those responsible.

Since we humans cannot change, and parliaments hardly allow themselves to be steered out of the already well-trodden paths - whereby the European Parliament itself is no longer even striving to get on the path it was once intended for - but we all probably have a majority in our parliamentary democracies we urgently need not just a constitutional convention at European level, but a European constitutional convention for the entire EU, including its federal structures.

One result of this constitutional convention must be that political offices and mandates are explicitly limited, no matter what the level.

#parliament #federalism #legislature


"To decide once every few years which member of the ruling class is to misrepresent the people in parliament is the real essence of bourgeois parliamentarism."

Vladimir Lenin, Essential Works of Lenin (1966: 304)
  • Your portrayal of a democracy of the future is almost perfect... but the need for the EU is so urgent that it cannot be expected to evolve with the representative political system.
    So I understand that a good route to this kind of near-perfect democracy would be to introduce the Swiss political system. The system of direct democracy has been working in the Helvetic Federation for more than 150 years and the satisfaction of the Swiss citizens is still very high. Almost 90% of the Swiss are satisfied with their political system.
    Therefore, in the EU, this can be seen as a confederation of states in transition (comparable to the confederal era of the Helvetic cantons) until a system dating back to that of the Helvetic confederation is created.
    The Swiss political system
    Direct democracy, neutrality and federalism are the main elements of Switzerland's political system, which is considered to be very stable and balanced. There is no dominant political party in either house of parliament and the government is composed of seven representatives from the four main parties.

    Swiss perspectives in 10 languages ​​: https://www.swissinfo.ch/spa/el-sistema-pol%C3%ADtico-de-suiza/45810472