On 25 March 2010, the Federal Supreme Court issued opinion 25 of 2010 on the meaning of Article 76 of the constitution, the first part of which reads:
The President of the Republic shall charge the nominee of the largest Council of Representatives bloc with the formation of the Council of Ministers within fifteen days from the date of the election of the President of the Republic.
Our (imperfect) translation of the decision is as follows:
A letter came to the Federal Supreme Court from the Office of the Prime Minister (MTN 1979) including a request for the interpretation of Article 76 of the constitution. The letter of 21 March 2010 asked for an interpretation of the expression “the largest bloc” in that Article. The request was put to the deliberation of the Federal Supreme Court on 25 March 2010. After consulting the opinions of scholars of constitutional law and studying and perusing them, the Federal Supreme Court came to the following opinion:
The Federal Supreme Court found upon examining Article 76 of the constitution in its 5 paragraphs and from examining the rest of the constitutional texts, that the application of the rules of Article 76 of the constitution comes after the meeting of the Council of Representatives in its new session on the basis of the invitation of the President in accordance with Article 54 of the constitution. Thereafter the Council of Representatives elects in its first session its speaker, then his first deputy and second deputy in accordance with Article 55 and then the new President under Article 70 and after the election of the President he shall charge the nominee of the largest Council of Representatives bloc with the formation of the Council of Ministers within fifteen days from the date of his election.
The Federal Supreme Court found that the expression “the largest bloc” means either the bloc formed after the election through the electoral list which ran for the election under one number and won the largest number of seats or the bloc which is formed of two or more lists which ran for election under different names or numbers and then coalesced into one entity in the Council of Representatives. Either of these that has the largest number of seats is the bloc whose nominee the President must call upon to form a government at the first meeting of the Council of Representatives.
This unanimous opinion was issued on 25/3/2010.
President of the Federal Supreme Court