While the ruling that there was no reason for the Parliamentary Speaker not to hold a secret ballot in itself was not surprising, was there anything that stood out in the judgment from a legal and constitutional perspective?
Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos things there was.
I think there was something quite interesting in the sense that we are a system in which the National Assembly, on paper at least is the most powerful of the two branches of government...because they elect the President, they can fire the President.— Pierre de Vos, Constitutional law expert
But in practice it does not always work that way, he says.
The Parliament does not always hold the Executive as accountable as it should. And the language in this judgment is very strong as to the...constitutionally mandated obligations...of the National Assembly to hold the Executive accountable.— Pierre de Vos, Constitutional law expert
And the fact that their first obligation is to the Constitution and not their political parties, the court found.
Which is interesting as the Members of Parliament are only in Parliament because they happen to be in the good books of the leaders of their political party.— Pierre de Vos, Constitutional law expert
But will this finding have any impact on the real world of politics?
De Vos says the judgment may be a useful precedent for the future.
The ConCourt did sort of hedge their bets...saying when the Speaker decides on the secret ballot she needs to take into account the whole picture.— Pierre de Vos, Constitutional law expert
This hedging allows for secret ballots only to happen when appropriate.
He says the ConCourt today was hinting very strongly that a secret ballot would be the wisest and the best decision to follow in this particular case.
Take a listen:
This article first appeared on 702 : "ConCourt hinted strongly that a secret ballot would be the wisest decision"