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About us Faculty of Law Organization Departments Constitutional Law, Administrative Law and Public Administration Research

Political constitutional law

There is a growing concern about the quality and resilience of democratic states operating under the rule of law. Numerous developments, both new and existing, are placing immense pressure on the functioning of democratic institutions and challenging the constitutional system in various ways.

Despite the urgent need for answers, the field of constitutional law struggles to provide sufficient responses to these challenges. Meanwhile, a range of initiatives is emerging outside the traditional realms of parliament and government, which have significant implications for governance and the functioning of the Parliament. Examples include the evolving role of political parties, the influence of social media on democratic oversight, and the participation of civil society organizations. Additionally, factors such as the increased role of the courts, privatization, and decentralization of key public responsibilities further contribute to this evolving landscape. In essence, both within and outside the political arena, substantial transformations are taking place.

Our research focuses on addressing several key questions within this context. A major area of interest revolves around the Dutch Parliament. What does the role of representatives entail in the present day? How has this role evolved in recent decades? Is the political fragmentation into numerous parties a threat or a potential asset for the functioning of parliament, and if it is a challenge, how can parliament maintain its effectiveness? Within this context, we examine the significance of individual MPs' free mandate, the role of the house president, and the rules of procedure. Should there be a constitutional base for political parties? Furthermore, what should be the optimal size of a parliament to fulfil its constitutional duties? Are legislative matters receiving sufficient attention, or has the involvement in implementation and incidents overshadowed this crucial aspect? Does ministerial responsibility still serve as an adequate anchor for parliamentary control? As the Senate increasingly resembles the House of Representatives, what is its role and relevance? Does a crisis or state of emergency require a different balance between governance and oversight, or should parliament play a more prominent role precisely in such circumstances? Lastly, how does the relationship with European Union law, which significantly influences the national legal order, impact these considerations?

Last modified:26 June 2023 10.30 a.m.
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