Simplifying the rules for presidential succession

By Lars Næsbye Christensen

Home Forums 06. Article IV – Organization of the Executive Branch Simplifying the rules for presidential succession

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    I suggest a simplification of the wording for paragraphs 2 through 5 in order to make it a little easier to read. There are also small changes of substance, described at the end.

    “2. If the office of Vice President is vacant, the President will nominate a Vice President, who will take office upon confirmation by a majority in both Houses of the European Congress.”

    “3. Whenever the President declares in writing to both Houses of The European Congress his/her inability to execute the duties of office, and until afterwards declared otherwise in writing, the Vice President acts as President.”

    Simplified and combined paragraph 4 and 5 into one paragraph 4:

    “4. The Vice President, together with the majority of an institution described in law, can in writing declare to the Houses of the European Congress the President unfit to act, after which the Vice President immediately acts as President.
    If the President has in this manner been declared unfit to act, he/she can within five days in writing declare to the Houses of the European Congress that he/she is fit for office. The Vice President, together with the majority of an institution described in law can within five days, issue another declaration in writing of the President’s unfitness for office.
    If the Houses of the European Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, determines by two-thirds majority of both Houses that the President is unable to act, the Vice President shall continue to act as President. Otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of the office.”

    My suggested changes to these two paragraphs, now combined into one:
    1) The body of which a majority is needed must be described in law. The president’s own politically appointed cabinet will not suffice. This is an early task for the European Congress – to define an institution which can act impartially to a request by the Vice President.

    2) The declaration of unfitness must simply be to The Houses, not necessarily a speaker or ’president pro tempore’. In both cases these offices are of course logical to address the declaration to, but it does not need to be in the constitution. Unless of course there is a legal loophole I have overlooked.

    3) Congress does not need to assemble ’within two days’ in order to be able to decide the question of fitness within 21 days. This is plenty of time with modern means of assembly, and if it is not in session then it seems self-evident that it must assemble as soon as possible in order to resolve the question the constitution requires it to solve. By the way, I wonder if our constitution takes into account the possibility of ‘assembling’ virtually, or online?

    4) I have increased the deadline for the written declaration from four to five days. Four seemed a little short, but it’s absolutely not a hill I’m willing to die on.

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