President to hold off signing EU constitution
16 June 2005, BERLIN - German president Horst Koehler is to hold off signing Germany's ratification of the new European Union constitution while judges rule on the Berlin law's validity, aides said on Wednesday.
16 June 2005
BERLIN - German president Horst Koehler is to hold off signing Germany's ratification of the new European Union constitution while judges rule on the Berlin law's validity, aides said on Wednesday.
Acting independently, a Christian Social Union (CSU) deputy, Peter Gauweiler, has challenged the act of ratification before Germany's Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe.
He is demanding that Germany hold a referendum, and contends that the constitution waters down German parliamentary authority.
The German president must ascertain if German laws are properly passed and then sign them in order for them to become valid. Both the upper and lower chambers of Germany's parliament passed the act of ratification by large majorities.
There has been no groundswell of opposition to the constitution in Germany like the feeling that led to 'no' votes in France and the Netherlands.
Gauweiler welcomed the president's decision to wait for the judges' verdict. "It's a big success for the small band of critics, of which I am one," he was quoted as saying by the Spiegel Online website.
He said the constitutional court had indicated it would hear oral argument of his case.
Subject: German news