12 July 2024

The Constitutional Court today ruled that Parliament is constitutionally empowered to draft a new constitution but that a referendum needs to be held to get prior public consent.

The much-awaited ruling has set off a new round of debate as to whether Parliament can still go ahead with the third and final reading of the constitutional amendment bill scheduled for March 17.

The bill seeks a rewrite of the current Constitution via a 200-member Constitution Drafting Assembly (CDA) representing people from various walks of life.

After a marathon deliberation, the Constitutional Court decided while Parliament has the constitutional duty to write a new constitution the process needs a prior public consent through a referendum.  Another referendum on the new draft is also constitutionally compulsory, according to the ruling.

The ruling was in response to an appeal from a group of legislators who questioned the constitutionality of the constitutional amendment bill which seeks to revise the Constitution which was drafted while the military was still in power and passed in a referendum in 2016.