What a national Constitution could look like


Instructed by experience, we, the citizens of (Name of Country) hereby decide to put an end to a long period of trials and errors in the field of political institutions. We place the government under the control of parliament and superior jurisdictions in charge of having the principles of democracy respected.

Article 1

The citizens adopt a constitution conform to the principles of democracy. As symbols of their Republic, they adopt… as their flag, … as the national anthem and the… as their national currency. The official language(e) of the country is/are… .

Article 2

The High Court of Justice is the guardian of the Constitution and of the Declaration of Rights and Duties of the Citizen enshrined in the preamble of the said Constitution and guaranteeing the democratic character of the regime. It is presided over by the President of the Republic as Head of State, the guarantor of the nature of the institutions. The members of the High Court of Justice are drafted from a body of senior magistrates coopted by their peers, according to a procedure determined by the organic law governing the judicial authority under the general purview of the Upper House. The judicial power is represented by a spokesperson independent from the government.

Article 3

The President of the Republic represents the nation and all the constituent bodies. He/She appoints as head of the government the leader of the parliamentary majority chosen by popular vote. He/She enacts the acts passed by Parliament. He/She, upon the government’s proposal, accepts the credentials of foreign ambassadors. He/She appoints the ambassadors and ministers plenipotentiary accredited to foreign countries He/She represents the country in official ceremonies at the request of the government. In the absence of a clear majority resulting from a legislative election, he/she appoints a person liable to form a government and dissolves the National Assembly to organize a new election after the latter has rejected three such proposed heads of government.

Article 4

The citizens are represented by two types of national delegates. The Upper House represents the citizens in the exercise of their constituent power. Its members set the rules of the political game according to the principles determined in the preamble of the Constitution. They make decisions at a qualified majority and always endeavor to reach a consensus. Given the nature of their functions, the members of the Upper House are called Sages. They are drafted from a body of distinguished citizens according to a procedure set by the High Court of Justice and validated by Parliament. They have the right of suspensive veto before a legislation is enacted. They are assisted by a college of experts giving advice both for and against. The Sages elect the President of the Republic for a renewable seven-year term.

Article 5

The Parliament controls the government and passes ordinary acts. Its members are elected for five years by a single majority vote, in order to guarantee both a majority government and an opposition ready to take over. Its decisions are made at a simple majority. Summoned for annual sessions, they exert their function to the exclusion of any other elective mandate. They work in small committees and pass the acts in plenary sittings. The internal rules of procedure of Parliament are set by the House of the Sages.

Article 6

The Prime Minister, accountable to Parliament, leads the national policy. He/She appoints the members of their government and puts an end to their functions. He/She presides over the Council of Ministers. He/She sets out the parliamentary agenda. He/She calls for new legislation, giving specifications as to its aims and the shortcomings of the existing legislation. His/Her functions end with his/her resignation or after a vote of no confidence cast by a majority of members of Parliament. He/She has the power to dissolve Parliament after consulting the President of the Republic. The ministers keep their right to vote in Parliament and resume their parliamentary activities at the end of their mission.

Article 7

The political budget of the nation is administered by the House of Sages. Full-time or part-time members receive an allowance enabling them to maintain their position and perform their function. Parties and election campaigns are financed by individuals in the form of tax-deductible donations or bequests. Low-income citizens are given vouchers for that purpose. Based on the amount of income tax that they paid before coming into their functions nationally elected officials are entitled to a differential allowance, which is attributed upon request when the amount of their previous income exceeded the said allowance. The members of the House of Sages are reimbursed for their expenses and losses of income.

Article 8

The members of Parliament are assisted by three Councils: the Council of political engineers, the Council of lawyers and the Council of auditors. The organic laws governing the operation of each of these councils are set out by the Upper House. The commissions of inquiry, high authorities of control or regulation and other public observatories of common interest are created at the Prime Minister’s request and validated by the three Councils gathered in a plenary session. Their mandate, which is limited in time, can be prolonged. Their members are appointed by the competent commission of the National Assembly on the proposal of the Council of political engineers.

Article 9

The Council of political engineers assists Parliament for the elaboration of bills. Its members, 101 of them, are recruited by draft among professionals and researchers coopted by their peers in the principal sectors of activity. Whenever the nature of a bill justifies it, they set out the specifications of the public contracts for which cabinets of experts are invited to tender bids. The latter not only audition the experts of their choice but also the personalities selected by the government and by the members of the parliamentary commission. After considering the proposed solutions, the members of the commission prepare a draft of the intended bill. Their choices are motivated and opposite opinions, if any, are published. After a debate, the bill is voted in a plenary session.

Article 10

The Council of lawyers exerts a preliminary control on the legality of laws and public acts. Its members are selected through a competitive examination or drafted among professionals coopted by their peers. Its opinion is requested by the senior civil servants in charge of controlling legality in the departments of administration. Whenever a bill is presumed anti-constitutional and the opinion is to be published, the Council has a right of motivated and suspensive veto, which entails a new reading of the bill and a vote in a public sitting.

Article 11

The Council of auditors assists the members of Parliament to control that public finances are put to good use and assess the costs entailed by new legislations. The auditors are selected among expert accountants and statutory auditors coopted by their peers. They are applied to by members of Parliament for analyses and investigations on the good use of public funds. They have access to public documents and are bound to respect the confidentiality of the information they get while auditing public departments or organizations financed in part by the State.

Article 12

The government can convene Parliament in an extraordinary session with a specific agenda. During the year following a legislative election, it can legislate by decrees on bills prepared by its services, provided these are validated by the Upper House, after consulting the Council of political engineers, the Council of lawyers and the Council of auditors for an opinion.

Article 13

The administration implements the public decisions. Their agents come under the authority of eight principal ministries: Justice, Finances, Home Office, National Defense, Foreign Relations, Transport & Public Works, Environment, Health & Public Aid. Each minister is assisted by one or several secretaries of State. The ministries are divided into autonomous departments, responsible for the management of their specific budget. The minister appoints and dismisses the heads of central administrations. These are divided into as many services as is needed for the good management of public affairs. They keep analytical and asset-based accounts showing long-, medium- and short-range debts.

Article 14

Civil servants are recruited through competitive examinations and also on application based on a ten-year professional experience. Public agents are amenable to the ordinary forms of law and tied to secrecy. Only those at the head of the organizations employing them are publicly accountable for their management. Union stewards and lobbyists have access to public forums within the frame of auditions requested by the constituent bodies and the experts consulted by the political authorities.

Article 15

Public decisions are made at the most relevant level. The repartition of territorial competences is governed by an organic law on local powers proceeding from the Upper House. If the size of the territory allows for it, there are two levels of local administration in the country : a proximity level, corresponding to urban zones and catchment areas gathering a network of small and medium-sized communities; a regional level, in which the provincial administrations exercise the public jurisdictions that do not need to be exercised at national level. The denominations and limits of the towns, catchment areas and provinces are decided upon after possibly consulting the inhabitants. The cultural identity of the cities, catchment areas and provinces is preserved.

Article 16

Each territorial collectivity has an assembly of elected officials in charge of controlling the executive power, which must be distinguished from the presidency of the said collectivity. Territorial delegates are elected by a simple majority vote, at the level of a district or an electoral constituency. They are bound to vote balanced budgets by imposing local taxes within the limits set by Parliament. The elected officials of the territories concerned are accountable for the good management of the public services that they manage financially. They also manage Public Aid, financed nationally, for the benefit of the local population.

Article 17

Belonging to the national community supposes the will to share a common destiny. When a two-third majority of the members of the Assembly of a distant territory ask to distance themselves from the Republic, their delegates negotiate the conditions of the autonomy or secession with the representatives of the national community. When two thirds of the members of the national Assembly ask for a territory to be excluded from the national community, the decision is confirmed by a national referendum.

Article 18

Belonging to the national community supposes to adhere to the rules of democracy as stated in the preamble of the Constitution. Those rules are subject to being taught as civic education. The minorities that do not share the common ideals have a right to freedom of expression, but do not benefit from public aids or tribunes for the instruction of their fellow-citizens. They do not participate in the electoral debates giving access to political power.

Article 19

The Constitution can be revised at the initiative of the Upper House representing the constituent power of the citizens, provided it has secured the agreement of Parliament obtained at a qualified majority or, for lack of it, that of the citizens consulted by referendum. Organic laws can be revised at the request of the President of the Republic, of the High Court of Justice, of one third of the members of Parliament, and of the plenary sitting of the Councils assisting Parliament.

Article 20

A national adhesion to a Union of States is possible as long as the latter proposes the rules of democracy, enriched by the latest advances of knowledge, as its fundamental law. In order to be fully entitled to claiming the status of a State, the new entity must moreover propose a procedure of collective decision making at a qualified majority, so as to enable the member States to adopt a common stance in foreign affairs.