CAPO has no business meddling in constitutional affairs

your say April 22, 2014 00:00

The Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) and the prime minister seem to think that, since Article 181 empowers the Cabinet to remain in a caretaker capacity, Article 182 does not apply.

Article 182 states that a minister’s position is terminated upon resignation, and also inter alia upon death, being sentenced to prison, or violating Article 268. So, it is argued, it would be illegal for the PM to resign. By the same logic, it would be illegal for the PM to die or receive a prison sentence.
That logic doesn’t make sense. Article 181 simply empowers the Cabinet to act in a caretaker capacity beyond its term; it does not preclude resignation, death or imprisonment.
Likewise Article 180 states that that the Cabinet must vacate office en masse if the PM is terminated under Article 182, including 182(7) as a result of having violated 268.
CAPO has also argued that 180 does not apply, and that if the PM is evicted under 182(7) then the rest of the Cabinet stays on. Following the same reasoning, it could be argued that the whole Cabinet, including the PM stays on. This clearly doesn’t make sense.
The Constitutional Court is to judge whether or not the PM violated 268, and I suppose this will hinge on whether there is sufficient evidence to judge that the transfer was “for personal benefit or for the benefit of others or of a political party, whether directly or indirectly”.
In case the court deems the PM guilty of violating 268, the consequences are clearly spelled out in Articles 266 and 265: the office of the PM and of the Cabinet is terminated. The caretaker role is an extension of office, and the rules must surely continue to apply.
CAPO has said that if the entire Cabinet has to go as a result of the judgement, then the Constitutional Court will be violating the Constitution.
I think CAPO should leave it to the Constitutional Court to judge what is and is not constitutional.
It shouldn’t be “CAPO” as in the “Capo di tutti cappi” (mafia Godfather).
Graham Catterwell