Are emergency measures in response to COVID-19 a threat to democracy?
Fact and Fiction – The case of North Macedonia
The unprecedented outbreak and spread of the COVID-19 virus in the world and its grave consequences on human health, the economy and the everyday life forced national parliaments either to change its standard work mode or transfer their constitutional competences to the executive by declaring state of emergency. The detrimental effects of this unorthodox situation, especially on functioning of democracies, government branches’ division, economic disturbances and losses of jobs are yet to be determined and analyzed. Not expecting that the virus will reach pandemic proportions, the Macedonian parliament was dissolved for early parliamentary elections that ought to be carried out by a technical government, a commitment taken from the Przino Agreement in 2015. The state had faced a unique situation to get through the pandemic with a dissolved parliament and a technical government with limited competences. The constitutional vagueness regarding the work of the parliament in emergency situations and the duration of mandate of the parliamentarians allowing for different interpretation thereof, made the situation even more complicated than before. Consequently, the Government had to propose a proclamation of state of emergency for the first time since the independence, in order to be able to adopt legally binding regulations to manage the crisis. The State President proclaimed state of emergency on 18 March 2020 that had to be extended two more times, once for an additional 30 days and another for 8 days, in order to observe the electoral deadlines for the re-scheduled parliamentary elections. Some experts have strongly argued that the government with its hands untied in these challenging and de-parliamentarized times might abuse its competences by adopting regulations that have nothing to do with the state of emergency. This paper will reflect on the unique political and legislative processes in the state and its effects on the parliamentary democracy.
Work published in the IALS Student Law Review is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Those who contribute items to IALS Student Law Review retain author copyright in their work but are asked to grant two licences. One is a licence to the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, School of Advanced Study of the University of London, enabling us to reproduce the item in digital form, so that it can be made available for access online in the open journal system and repository and website. The terms of the licence which you are asked to grant to the University for this purpose are as follows:
'I grant to the University of London the irrevocable, non-exclusive royalty-free right to reproduce, distribute, display, and perform this work in any format including electronic formats throughout the world for educational, research, and scientific non-profit uses during the full term of copyright including renewals and extensions'
The other licence is for the benefit of those who wish to make use of items published online in IALS Student Law Review and stored in the e-repository. For this purpose we use a Creative Commons licence allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they mention you and link back to your entry in IALS Student Law Review and/or SAS-SPACE, but they can't change them in any way or use them commercially.