Posted on | May 20, 2009
The Federal Supreme Court gave its opinion on 13 May 2009 following the request of the Speaker of the Council of Representatives to the Court in its capacity as interpreter of the Constitution under Article 93(2).
The issue arising was the interpretation of Article 56 of the constitution which states:
First: The electoral term of the Council of Representatives shall be four calendar years, starting with its first session and ending with the conclusion of the fourth year.
Second: The new Council of Representatives shall be elected forty-five days before the conclusion of the preceding electoral term.
The previous election had been on 15 December 2005. The opening session of the Council of Representatives had been 16 March 2006 (the swearing in session) and the first substantive session of the Council of Representatives was then held on 22 April 2006.
The Court was of the opinion that the swearing in session on 16 March 2006 was the “first session” as required by Article 56(First). It therefore followed that the conlcusion of the 4th year would be on 15 March 2010 and that the election should be 45 days prior to 15 March 2010, i.e. 30 January 2010.
The court decided that the Calendar year referred to was the 365 day Gregorian year (and not for example the 360 day Hijri year).
Notably the Court was of the opinion that the election date would be on 30 January 2010, although some that have argued the constitution permits the interpretation that the election should be on or before this date.
Newspaper reports that the election date had been ‘postponed’ are wrong.