Romanian Constitutional Court has decided that the President must fire anti-corruption chief (about motivation):

Judges said that under the constitution, Iohannis cannot reject a government decree dismissing Codruta Kovesi.

Romania has a semi-presidential political system and some argued that such a decision will render the President mostly decorative and shift the political system towards a parliamentary one. It would also have a great impact upon justice independence since prosecutors would be politically influenced.

In Romania, the President main power is that he/she can appoint one third of the Constitutional Court members and the two chief prosecutors, so this decision significantly limits presidential powers.

I am wondering if a similar decision (shifting political power away from the president by the Constitutional Court) in the recent history (after 1990).

Question: Is there a recent example of a constitutional court decision limiting presidential powers within Europe?

  • 3
    In your title, do you mean "a constitutional court" (anywhere in the world) or "the constitutional court" of Romania. There are plenty of examples of the US supreme court limiting Presidential powers.
    – James K
    Jun 14, 2018 at 8:14
  • @JamesK - "a constitutional court" of course as I am interested in a answer within an international context. I am not very familiar with US politics, but I sense that the supreme court is not creating such significant limitations. The Romanian President has limited leverage and naming/revoking those prosecutors was a very important part of presidential powers. Anyway, US politics examples are also welcomed. Thanks.
    – Alexei
    Jun 14, 2018 at 8:19
  • 1
    In the US, the "Supreme Court" has the ultimate authority to interpret the meaning of what the Constitution says.
    – grovkin
    Jun 14, 2018 at 8:25
  • 1
    This seems very broad, you may want to narrow it down to at least a continent or a smaller timeframe than 'after WWII'. If you just want a single example of a constitutional court limiting any amount of presidential powers, last year the US Supreme Court limited certain sections of a presidential order while the full case and legal challenges are processed.
    – Giter
    Jun 14, 2018 at 12:42
  • 1
    @Giter - you are right. Since Romania is an European country, I think an European example is more relevant. Also, I have narrowed the time frame to start approximately from the fall of the Iron Curtain.
    – Alexei
    Jun 14, 2018 at 13:32

1 Answer 1


Sure, but it meets resistance from the political camp.

  1. In Poland the highest court has decided 2015 that the president Andrezej Duda of the leading national conservative party PiS is not allowed to block the enactment of already chosen judges for the Constituitional Court of Poland. Duda simply chose and inaugurate compliant judges from PiS which clashes with the judicial system.

  2. In Hungary Viktor Orbán razed 2010 indemnities for employees of the state. The constituitional court decided that this is unconstituitional, but Viktor's party later curbed the rights of the constituitional court for budget decisions.

So currently there are several East European countries which have been chastized for trying to break the divison of powers. In Germany Merkel's government has also a record-breaking number of decisions which were deemed unconstituitional, but as they don't exactly limit the power of the president/chancellor I don't enumerate them. Just telling that the constituitional courts in many countries are under heavy pressure.

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