What does constitutional change mean
A constitution is a special law. The constitution states how the state should function. It describes which organs are there and what they should and are allowed to do, especially the government and parliament. In addition, many constitutions determine what rights citizens have, i.e. the people who belong to the state. For example, federal states can also have constitutions.
Many European constitutions date from around 1800. They were intended to ensure that the king no longer had so much power alone in his state. It was a long time before the states in Europe became democracies in which the people have the say. Often times a new constitution brought more rights for the people in a state.
The constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1949 is called the Basic Law. In Austria there are several laws that together make up the constitution. The most important is the Federal Constitutional Law. Switzerland has had its constitution since 1848: at that time, the cantons merged to form a federal state and wrote a constitution for all of Switzerland.
Can you change a constitution?
In most countries, the constitution is either very difficult to change or, in some cases, cannot be changed at all. In Germany, for example, there are some parts of the Basic Law that cannot be changed.
The constitution of the United States of America can only be changed by additional articles. A new additional article needs the approval of the parliament, the congress. It will not come into force until three-quarters of the states have also given their approval.
In Switzerland, parliament can propose an amendment to the constitution at any time. This can also be done by an individual citizen or a group. She has to write down her concern clearly and find 100,000 signatures for it among the people. Then there is a referendum. There are several examples of this every year.
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