Constitutional Court Says Bridge's Referendum Questions Unconstitutional

By 16 May 2022
Constitutional Court Says Bridge's Referendum Questions Unconstitutional
Photo: Robert Anic/PIXSELL

ZAGREB, 16 May 2022 - The Constitutional Court ruled on Monday that the questions in the two referendum petitions launched by the opposition Bridge party - to abolish mandatory COVID passes and transfer the powers of the national COVID response team to Parliament - were not in line with the Constitution.

The decision on the first question was passed by three votes against and the decision on the second question by one vote against.

The court found that the first question was not in line with the rule of law because it does not meet the requirement of "reasonable purposefulness and effectiveness of the referendum."

The second petition called for the adoption of an act to amend the Protection against Infectious Diseases Act to ensure that any measures restricting rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution are adopted by Parliament rather than by the national COVID-19 response team.

The petition proposed that decisions by the national COVID-19 response team should be submitted by the government to Parliament for confirmation within 30 days of their adoption.

The court found that the amendment proposing the transfer of decisions that are inherent to the government to the legislature encroaches upon the structural features of the Croatian constitutional state and infringes the constitutional division of powers and responsibilities of the Croatian Parliament as a legislative authority and the national COVID-19 response team as an executive authority, "and is hence contrary to the Constitution and the rule of law as one of the highest values."   

The court said that, in view of the necessity of urgent action, Parliament could not be expected to adopt measures requiring a rapid response by a two-thirds majority.

At the same session, the court unanimously abolished Article 11 of the regulation governing procedures that precede the conclusion of legal transactions concerning the allocation of state-owned immovable properties for use by state administration bodies or other beneficiaries of the state budget and other persons.

The court launched the procedure to test the constitutionality of the section of the Courts Act concerning background checks of judges and temporarily suspended all actions being undertaken based on the legal provisions contested.

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