De facto parliament

De facto parliament

By Álvaro Ortúzar, lawyer.


The President of the Republic, finally, has exercised its powers to resort to the Constitutional Court to avoid a new legal loom of Parliament, consisting of modifying the fundamental letter through maneuvers that depart from our maximum legislation. The Congress has decided to govern de facto through legislative initiatives that are not its own, but of the Executive, and introduce changes to the Constitution by the route of transitory articles that require minor quorums.


The requirement to the TC refers to the second withdrawal of funds from the AFPs, which is a project born in Parliament, and whose initiative the Constitution does not recognize it. A good part of the ruling party previously rejected it, more than anything because of its vision of the pension system. In this order of ideas, the formal origin of the requirement seems an edge of the discussion, since there is something that evidently confuses people: the government has presented, at the time of the requirement, a bill on the same retirement, although limited to certain purposes and requirements. This represents an ideological contradiction regarding what the pension system is, whose anticipated distribution had been rejected by the ruling. Presenting a project, even with conditions, is an abdication that will harm future pensioners and people with lower resources, and probably to the reform of the pension system. Everything indicates, then, that the presentation to the TC focuses on preventing parliamentarians from presenting new initiatives for the withdrawal of new pension funds, which are prerogative of the President of the Republic.


If we assume that the Executive is successful, and the TC declares that the only one with powers to present projects such as the current is of the president, as stated, more withdrawals in the future. Eventually, with respect to the previous one, a complex political-legal problem will be presented, since a law that was approved contrary to the Constitution is void of public law, given that Congress attributed more powers than those that the fundamental letter grants it.


The presentation to the TC has unleashed reactions in the opposition, threatening to insist on their own reform as they have obtained high quorum. This argument is false, because it is not a matter of the number of approval votes, but of the initiative of the law. It must be highlighted again and again: this attitude is sanctioned with the dismissal of those who intend to alter the institutional order by diverse means to which the Constitution establishes. Likewise, it is a notable abandonment of the duties of the parliamentarians, the first of which is to respect the fundamental norms and is punished with the dismissal. Will there be courage to face this situation or will we live under the abuse of the cracks and the hegemony of a de facto parliament?

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