Friday, May 12, 2006


For those of you interested in constitutional matters, over at European Tribune, DoDo has a graphical guide to constitutional systems. It's focused on European constitutions, and collapses all the finickity details such as multiple houses and such, but its still fairly clear about how power flows around. Currently, we are in the situation pictured in the second diagram, Parliamentary democracy in a constitutional monarchy. One of the key questions in the republican debate is whether to switch to the system of diagrams three or four - a Parliamentary or popularly elected figurehead President. The chief difference is that we are generally not keen on Presidential veto powers in New Zealand, preferring the position to be almost entirely ceremonial. Irish-style powers of referral to the courts or referendum before assent might fit with our system, but IMHO the public would take a lot of convincing before allowing a head of state who was anything more than a figurehead - particularly if they were not elected.


Agreed I/S. Although the strange thing is - and Aussie republicans will confirm this - most of the general public don't want a powerful president, but they also don't want the President to be elected by Parliament. That was the strange thing about the 1999 referendum: The model proposed would have created a President marginally more powerful at the expense of the PM, yet it was rejected (by a margin of 5% I might add) because the general public were in favour of a directly elected President.

Posted by Lewis Holden : 5/13/2006 11:28:00 AM