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The constructive vote of no confidence (german: konstruktives Misstrauensvotum, es, moción de censura constructiva) is a variation on the
motion of no confidence A motion of no confidence, vote of no confidence, or no confidence motion, sometimes in the reverse as a motion of confidence or vote of confidence, is a statement or vote Voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an Constituenc ...
that allows a
parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of ...

parliament
to withdraw confidence from a
head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administrat ...
only if there is a positive majority for a prospective successor. The principle is intended to ensure governments' stability by making sure that a replacement has enough parliamentary support to govern. The concept was introduced on a national scale in
West Germany West Germany is the common English name for the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG; german: Bundesrepublik Deutschland , BRD) between its formation on 23 May 1949 and the German reunification German reunification (german: Deutsche Wieder ...
's 1949 constitution which remains in force after the
German reunification German reunification (german: Deutsche Wiedervereinigung) was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) **Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, peop ...
; it has been adopted since the 1970s in other nations as
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
,
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
,
Lesotho Lesotho ( , ), officially the Kingdom of Lesotho ( st, Naha ea Lesotho), is an enclaved country surrounded entirely by South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. Wi ...

Lesotho
,
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
,
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...

Poland
,
Slovenia Slovenia ( ; sl, Slovenija ), officially the Republic of Slovenia (Slovene: , abbr.: ''RS''), is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, l ...

Slovenia
,
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a par ...

Albania
and
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
.


Germany

Governments in the post-WW1
Weimar Republic The Weimar Republic (german: Weimarer Republik ) was the German state from 1918 to 1933 when it functioned as a federal constitutional republic. The state was officially named the German Reich (german: Deutsches Reich, link=no, label=none), ...
were very unstable. As there was no
election threshold The electoral threshold, or election threshold, is the minimum share of the primary vote which a candidate or political party requires to achieve before they become entitled to any representation in a legislature A legislature is an delibe ...
for the
Reichstag is a German word generally meaning parliament, more directly translated as ''Diet (assembly), Diet of the Realm'' or ''National diet'', or more loosely as ''Imperial Diet''. It may refer to: Buildings and places is the god specific German word ...
, it was possible to get a seat with as little as 0.4 percent of the vote. This resulted in a fragmented parliament, making it difficult for a government to retain a majority. Furthermore, as the Kaiserreich had not been a
parliamentary system A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' an ...
, the politicians who had served in the pre-war Reichstag had little experience with
coalition government A coalition government is a form of government in which political parties cooperate to form a government. The usual reason for such an arrangement is that no single party has achieved an absolute majority after an election An election is a ...
s which were an absolute necessity given the fractured political landscape. The parties representing the political center (
SPD The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; SPD, ) is a social democratic political party in Germany. It is one of the two major parties of contemporary Germany along with the CDU/CSU, Union parties ...
, Zentrum and Progressive People's Party) had come together for the
Reichstag Peace ResolutionThe Reichstag Peace Resolution was passed by the '' Reichstag'' of the German Empire The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle wrote in September 1881 that the term "Reich" does not literally connote an empi ...
during World War I and experienced cross-party cooperation in the :de:Interfraktioneller Ausschuss, but those efforts were directed ''against'' the government of Kaiser
Oberste Heeresleitung The ''Oberste Heeresleitung'' (, Supreme Army Command or OHL) was the highest echelon of command of the army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting fo ...
and chancellor, not the work of a coalition of parties supporting a government agenda with difficult
Realpolitik ''Realpolitik'' (; ) is politics or diplomacy based primarily on considerations of given circumstances and factors, rather than explicit ideological notions or moral and ethical premises. In this respect, it shares aspects of its philosophical app ...
considerations. In addition, those parties only achieved a parliamentary majority (the so called
Weimar Coalition The Weimar Coalition () is the name given to the centre-left to centre-right coalition The term "coalition" is the denotation for a group formed when two or more people, factions, states, political parties, militaries etc. agree to work together ...
) once in the history of the Weimar Republic - in the inaugural
Weimar National Assembly The Constituent German National Assembly (german: verfassunggebende Deutsche Nationalversammlung), better known as the Weimar National Assembly (german: Weimarer Nationalversammlung, link=no), was the constitutional convention and de facto parli ...
. Despite the name, the Weimar Coalition was not the most common type of government during the Weimar Republic, Germany instead being governed by center right coalitions including the
German People's Party The German People's Party (german: Deutsche Volkspartei, or DVP) was a national liberal party in Weimar Germany and a successor to the National Liberal Party of the German Empire The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, official ...

German People's Party
(monarchist and thus opposed to the Republican Weimar Coalition in 1919) as well as the Center Party and the
German Democratic Party The German Democratic Party (Deutsche Demokratische Partei, or DDP) was a left-wing liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an adherent of a ...
with either the social democrats or the far right
German National People's Party The German National People's Party (german: Deutschnationale Volkspartei, DNVP) was a national-conservative National conservatism is a variant of conservatism Conservatism is a political and social philosophy promoting traditional soci ...
joining those coalitions or providing
confidence and supply In a parliamentary democracy A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democracy, democratic government, governance of a sovereign state, state (or subordinate entity) where the Executive (government), executive de ...
to a
minority government A minority government, minority cabinet, minority administration, or a minority parliament is a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Art ...
. Under the
Weimar Constitution The Constitution of the German Reich (german: Die Verfassung des Deutschen Reichs), usually known as the Weimar Constitution (''Weimarer Verfassung''), was the constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A princ ...

Weimar Constitution
, a
Chancellor Chancellor ( la, links=no, cancellarius) is a title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the ''cancellarii Cancelli are lattice-work, placed before a window, a door-way, the tribunal o ...
(or ''Reichskanzler'' as he was then called) would frequently be voted out of office without a successor in sight, often over trivial policy differences or personal grudges. While in the
German Empire The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle Herbert Tuttle (1846–1894) was an American historian. Biography Herbert Tuttle was born in Bennington, Vermont Bennington is a New England town, town ...
(1871-1918) the chancellor was appointed or dismissed exclusively on the say-so of the emperor, the
Reichstag is a German word generally meaning parliament, more directly translated as ''Diet (assembly), Diet of the Realm'' or ''National diet'', or more loosely as ''Imperial Diet''. It may refer to: Buildings and places is the god specific German word ...
had no formal mechanism of holding the chancellor accountable. When
Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg Theobald Theodor Friedrich Alfred von Bethmann Hollweg (29 November 1856 – 1 January 1921) was a German politician who was the chancellor of the German Empire Chancellor ( la, links=no, cancellarius) is a title of various official positions ...

Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg
had drawn the ire of the Reichstag majority over his misshandling of the
Zabern Affair The Zabern or Saverne Affair was a crisis of domestic policy which occurred in the German Empire at the end of 1913. It was caused by political unrest in Zabern (now Saverne) in Alsace-Lorraine, where two battalions of the Prussian were garrison ...
, they voted that they had lost their confidence in him, but
the Kaiser
 the Kaiser
wanted him to stay chancellor and the Reichstag had no recourse on the matter. The framers of the
Weimar constitution The Constitution of the German Reich (german: Die Verfassung des Deutschen Reichs), usually known as the Weimar Constitution (''Weimarer Verfassung''), was the constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A princ ...

Weimar constitution
explicitly inserted a provision that the chancellor needed the confidence of the Reichstag. However, the constitution also contained the :de:Ersatzkaiser in the very strong role of the Reichspräsident who could hire and fire chancellors at will just as the Kaiser had been entitled to. A Weimar Republic chancellor thus needed the support of both the president and the Reichstag and neither needed to present a workable alternative or consult the other when dismissing the chancellor. This proved especially problematic after the 1925 German presidential election made the octogenarian right wing monarchist officer
Paul von Hindenburg Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg (; abbreviated ; 2 October 1847 – 2 August 1934) was a German general and statesman who led the Imperial German Army The Imperial German Army (1871–1919), officially referred to ...

Paul von Hindenburg
president, a man who frequently clashed with and tried to undermine the
SPD The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; SPD, ) is a social democratic political party in Germany. It is one of the two major parties of contemporary Germany along with the CDU/CSU, Union parties ...
, the biggest party in the Reichstag from 1919 to 1932. In less than 14 years of the Republic, there was a succession of 14 Chancellors with 20 governments. Many of them were forced to rely on the emergency provisions of
Article 48 Article 48 of the constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activ ...
just to conduct the basic business of government; in the latter years, this frequently led to the imposition of cabinets dependent on the confidence of the
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...
,
Paul von Hindenburg Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg (; abbreviated ; 2 October 1847 – 2 August 1934) was a German general and statesman who led the Imperial German Army The Imperial German Army (1871–1919), officially referred to ...

Paul von Hindenburg
. This instability was helped by and seen as contributing to the rise of the
Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party (german: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP), was a far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, ...
. After the 1930 German Reichstag election there was no longer any workable government majority due to the
Communist Party of Germany The Communist Party of Germany (german: Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands, , KPD ) was a major political party in the Weimar Republic The Weimar Republic (german: Weimarer Republik ) was the German state from 1918 to 1933 when it fun ...

Communist Party of Germany
(then holding on to the
Social fascism Social fascism was a theory that was supported by the Communist International The Communist International (Comintern), also known as the Third International, was an international organization founded in 1919 that advocated world communism, h ...
thesis and thus unwilling to form a Popular Front Government) and the Nazi party holding 184 out of 577 seats between them and them frequently cooperating cynically on motions to disrupt procedures and hamper the government. After the July 1932 German Reichstag election things turned from bad to worse as the Nazis and the Communists now combined for 319 out of 605 seats, giving them the power to vote down any motion and dismiss every government through a vote of no confidence without being able (or willing) to propose any constructive measures of their own. However, the
Free State of Prussia The Free State of Prussia (german: Freistaat Preußen) was a States of the Weimar Republic, state of German Reich, Germany from 1918 to 1947. It was established in 1918 following the German Revolution of 1918–19, German Revolution, abolishin ...
(by far Germany's largest and most populous) had a slightly different constitutional setup at the time, which required a ''positive'' majority in favor of a ''new'' government to unseat the sitting government. Thus
Otto Braun Otto Braun (28 January 1872 – 15 December 1955) was a German Social Democratic Social democracy is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, grou ...

Otto Braun
served as
Prime Minister of Prussia The office of Minister President (german: Ministerpräsident), or Prime Minister, of Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic l ...
from 1920 to the Preußenschlag coup d'etat in 1932 with only two interruptions, providing much more democratic stability in Prussia than at the Reich level. To prevent the type of instability seen on the Reich level during the Weimar Republic and taking a cue from the Prussian model, two provisions were included in the 1949 German
constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...

constitution
, the
Basic Law In countries with uncodified constitution An uncodified constitution is a type of constitution where the fundamental rules often take the form of custom (law), customs, usage, precedent and a variety of statutes and legal instruments.Johari, J. ...
() They stipulate that ''Bundeskanzler'' (Federal Chancellor), as the function is now called, may be removed from office by majority vote of the ''
Bundestag The Bundestag (, "Federal diet (assembly), Diet") is the Germany, German Federalism, federal parliament. It is the only body that is directly elected by the German people on the federal level. It can be compared to a lower house similar to the ...

Bundestag
'' ("Federal Diet", the German Federal Parliament) only if a prospective successor also has the support of a majority: : Article 67. (1) The Bundestag can express its lack of confidence in the Federal Chancellor only by electing a successor with the majority of its members and by requesting the Federal President to dismiss the Federal Chancellor. The Federal President must comply with the request and appoint the person elected. : (2) Forty-eight hours must elapse between the motion and the election. : Article 68. (1) If a motion of a Federal Chancellor for a vote of confidence is not assented to by the majority of the members of the Bundestag, the Federal President may, upon the proposal of the Federal Chancellor, dissolve the Bundestag within twenty-one days. The right to dissolve shall lapse as soon as the Bundestag with the majority of its members elects another Federal Chancellor. : (2) Forty-eight hours must elapse between the motion and the vote thereon. As a result, the failure of a
motion of confidence A motion of no confidence, vote of no confidence, or no confidence motion, sometimes in the reverse as a motion of confidence or vote of confidence, is a statement or vote Voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an Constituenc ...
does not automatically force either the resignation of the cabinet or a new election. Rather, the cabinet ''may'' continue as a
minority government A minority government, minority cabinet, minority administration, or a minority parliament is a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Art ...
if there is not a positive majority for a prospective successor. This mechanism of triggering early elections was used three times at the federal level, in 1972 after Willy Brandt narrowly survived an attempt to unseat him in 1983 after Helmut Kohl wished to cement his ascension via constructive vote of no confidence (the FDP had switched from supporting
Helmut Schmidt Helmut Heinrich Waldemar Schmidt (; 23 December 1918 – 10 November 2015) was a German politician and member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; ...

Helmut Schmidt
and the
SPD The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; SPD, ) is a social democratic political party in Germany. It is one of the two major parties of contemporary Germany along with the CDU/CSU, Union parties ...
to backing Kohl and the
CDU/CSU CDU/CSU, unofficially the Union parties (german: Unionsparteien, ) or the Union, is the centre-right Centre-right politics (British English) or center-right politics (American English), also referred to as moderate-right politics, lean to the ...
two years after the 1980 German federal election) and in 2005 when
Gerhard Schröder Gerhard Fritz Kurt Schröder (; born 7 April 1944) is a German retired politician, lawyer, consultant and lobbyist, who served as the chancellor of Germany The chancellor of Germany, officially the Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic ...

Gerhard Schröder
wished to obtain a new mandate from the electorate in the face of falling poll numbers, criticism from members of his own party and the loss in the
2005 North Rhine-Westphalia state election The 2005 North Rhine-Westphalia state election was held on 22 May 2005 to elect the members of the Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia The Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia is the state parliament (''Landtag A Landtag (State Diet Diet may ref ...
(a state his party had governed since 1966). While president
Horst Köhler
Horst Köhler
at first hesitated to grant Schröder's request to dissolve the Bundestag, he ultimately did so and the
German Federal Constitutional Court The Federal Constitutional Court (german: Bundesverfassungsgericht; abbreviated: ') is the supreme court, supreme constitutional court for the Germany, Federal Republic of Germany, established by the constitution or Basic Law for the Federal ...
refused to undo Köhler's action as it deemed the issue a
political question In United States constitutional law United States constitutional law is the body of law governing the interpretation and implementation of the United States Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the U ...
tacitly endorsing the new convention. For a motion of no confidence, a majority of all Bundestag members is needed to elect a new chancellor, so not participating in the vote has the same effect as voting ''no'' (or abstaining). This was of importance in the first, ultimately unsuccessful use of this instrument. Also, the Federal President may dissolve the legislature ''only'' after the failure of a motion of confidence, and the legislature may not dissolve itself either. This provision is intended to limit the power of the President. One consequence of this is that in contrast to many other parliamentary democracies, the Chancellor does not petition the President to dissolve the legislature. Rather, a Chancellor needs to (deliberately) lose a motion of confidence in order to force a snap election. While Carlo Schmid is generally considered the main contributor to this constitutional innovation, the concept was actually introduced after
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
in the
Free State of Prussia The Free State of Prussia (german: Freistaat Preußen) was a States of the Weimar Republic, state of German Reich, Germany from 1918 to 1947. It was established in 1918 following the German Revolution of 1918–19, German Revolution, abolishin ...
. It was a major reason why Prussia was governed by a stable centre-left coalition without interruption from 1919 to 1932 in contrast to the unstability of the national governments.


History of use

Since 1949, two constructive votes of no confidence have been attempted (both by
CDU CDU may refer to: Education * Catholic Distance University, a worldwide Catholic university based in Hamilton, Virginia, U.S offering theological instruction and degrees via Internet * Cebu Doctors' University, a medical university in the Phili ...
against
SPD The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; SPD, ) is a social democratic political party in Germany. It is one of the two major parties of contemporary Germany along with the CDU/CSU, Union parties ...
), and only the second was successful.


1972: Rainer Barzel vs. Willy Brandt (failed vote)

On 27 April 1972, an attempt to vote Chancellor
Willy Brandt Willy Brandt (; born Herbert Ernst Karl Frahm; 18 December 1913 – 8 October 1992) was a German politician and statesman who was leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokrati ...

Willy Brandt
(
SPD The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; SPD, ) is a social democratic political party in Germany. It is one of the two major parties of contemporary Germany along with the CDU/CSU, Union parties ...
) out of office by opposition leader
Rainer Barzel Rainer Candidus Barzel (20 June 1924 – 26 August 2006) was a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany, Christian Democratic Union (CDU). He served as the 8th President of the Bundestag from 1983 to 1984. Barzel had been ...

Rainer Barzel
(
CDU CDU may refer to: Education * Catholic Distance University, a worldwide Catholic university based in Hamilton, Virginia, U.S offering theological instruction and degrees via Internet * Cebu Doctors' University, a medical university in the Phili ...
) failed by only two votes. This came as a surprise since it was known that several members of the SPD-FDP coalition strongly opposed Brandt's ''
Ostpolitik ''Neue Ostpolitik'' (German for "new eastern policy"), or ''Ostpolitik'' for short, was the normalization of relations between the Federal Republic of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin ...
'' and the government no longer had a clear majority after several deputies either switched over to the opposition or announced they would vote for the no-confidence motion. The numerous defections theoretically dropped the coalition to just 246 votes. The opposition nominally had 250, one vote over the 249 needed to topple Brandt. The voting was influenced by tactics. The law on specifies that the Chancellor is elected in a secret ballot, which applies in the motion of no confidence as well. To hamper their “faithless” deputies from voting for Barzel, the leadership of the SPD urged them not to participate in the vote; since a majority of all deputies is needed for a successful vote, not participating has the same effect as voting ''no'', and it can be checked or enforced unlike secret ballot. Only the members of government and a few protesting coalition deputies (several from FDP, only Günter Müller from SPD) went to the voting booth, the first to ensure that dissenting deputies from CDU might remain secret. Despite this, Brandt believed he was finished, and the SPD had girded itself to be consigned to opposition. A number of unions went on strike in anticipation of Brandt's defeat. In the end, only 260 votes were cast: 247 with yes, 10 with no, 3 abstaining; the remaining 236 were either absent or invalid. It was thus clear that the missing votes were within the CDU faction. In June 1973, CDU member Julius Steiner admitted to ''
Der Spiegel ''Der Spiegel'' (, lit. ''"The Mirror"'') is a German weekly news magazine A news magazine is a typed, printed, and published magazine A magazine is a periodical publication Periodical literature (also called a periodical publicatio ...

Der Spiegel
'' magazine to have abstained from voting. Later, he claimed to have received 50,000
DM
DM
in return from one of the leading SPD figures, Karl Wienand. Leo Wagner of the CSU was suspected to have received a bribe as well, but conclusive evidence could not be found. After the 1990
German reunification German reunification (german: Deutsche Wiedervereinigung) was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) **Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, peop ...
, it became clear that the bribe money that was offered to several CDU politicians came from the East German
Stasi The Ministry for State Security (german: Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, MfS, ), or State Security Service (, SSD), commonly known as the (),An abbreviation of . was the official state security service of the German Democratic Republic Germ ...
(secret police), who at the time saw a need for Brandt to stay in power. That is somewhat ironic since Brandt's ''Ostpolitik'' is today seen as one of the major steps that eventually led to the implosion of East Germany in 1989. Brandt in turn would resign only two years later over the
Guillaume affair The Guillaume affair () was an espionage Espionage or spying is the act of obtaining secret Secrecy is the practice of hiding information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question of ...
which involved one of his personal assistants having been a
Stasi The Ministry for State Security (german: Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, MfS, ), or State Security Service (, SSD), commonly known as the (),An abbreviation of . was the official state security service of the German Democratic Republic Germ ...
spy. However, as the government was no longer backed by a majority in parliament, on 22 September, Chancellor Brandt proposed a
Motion of confidence A motion of no confidence, vote of no confidence, or no confidence motion, sometimes in the reverse as a motion of confidence or vote of confidence, is a statement or vote Voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an Constituenc ...

Motion of confidence
to the ''Bundestag''. He lost intentionally to make way for the
1972 West German federal election Federal elections were held in West Germany on 19 November 1972 to elect the members of the 7th Bundestag. In the first snap elections since 1949, the Social Democratic Party of Germany, Social Democratic Party for the first time in the history of ...
in November, which he won decisively.


1982: Helmut Kohl vs. Helmut Schmidt (successful vote)

On 1 October 1982,
Helmut Schmidt Helmut Heinrich Waldemar Schmidt (; 23 December 1918 – 10 November 2015) was a German politician and member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; ...

Helmut Schmidt
was voted out of office in favor of
Helmut Kohl Helmut Josef Michael Kohl (; 3 April 1930 – 16 June 2017) was Chancellor of Germany The chancellor of Germany, officially the Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (german: Bundeskanzler(in) der Bundesrepublik Deutschlan ...

Helmut Kohl
, marking the end of the SPD-FDP coalition. The vote was much easier than the 1972 one since it was clear that the
FDP FDP may refer to: Biology and medicine * Fibrin degradation product * Fixed-dose procedure * Flexor digitorum profundus muscle * Fructose 1,6-bisphosphate Political parties * Free Democratic Party (Germany) (german: Freie Demokratische Partei, ...
wanted to switch over to the CDU. Indeed, the FDP was already in negotiations at the time the vote happened. The FDP was no longer content with SPD economic policy and at the same time, the SPD was internally divided over NATO stationing of nuclear missiles in Germany. Still, the vote succeeded by a majority of only seven votes. To obtain a clearer majority in the ''Bundestag'' (which seemed to be in reach according to the polls), after the vote, Helmut Kohl put up a motion of confidence in which the new CDU-FDP coalition intentionally voted against the Chancellor that it just put into power. This trick allowed for the dissolution of the ''Bundestag'' according to Article 68 of the ''Grundgesetz'' (see above). Still, the action triggered an appeal to the
Federal Constitutional Court The Federal Constitutional Court (german: Bundesverfassungsgericht; abbreviated: ') is the supreme constitutional court A constitutional court is a high court High court usually refers to the superior court In common law systems, a s ...
, which, in a somewhat helpless ruling in February, upheld the move but set criteria for such motions in future. The new ''Bundestag'' was elected in March 1983, yielding a strong majority for the new coalition, which eventually lasted until
1998 1998 was designated as the ''International Year of the Ocean''. Events January * January 2 Events Pre-1600 *AD 69, 69 – The Roman legions in Germania Superior refuse to swear loyalty to Galba. They rebel and proclaim Vitellius a ...
.


2005: Gerhard Schröder's motion of confidence

After the governing SPD lost to the CDU in the
2005 North Rhine-Westphalia state election The 2005 North Rhine-Westphalia state election was held on 22 May 2005 to elect the members of the Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia The Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia is the state parliament (''Landtag A Landtag (State Diet Diet may ref ...
, Chancellor
Gerhard Schröder Gerhard Fritz Kurt Schröder (; born 7 April 1944) is a German retired politician, lawyer, consultant and lobbyist, who served as the chancellor of Germany The chancellor of Germany, officially the Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic ...

Gerhard Schröder
announced on 25 May that he would call federal elections "as soon as possible" (the standard term would have been in September 2006). To achieve it, Schröder put up a
motion of confidence A motion of no confidence, vote of no confidence, or no confidence motion, sometimes in the reverse as a motion of confidence or vote of confidence, is a statement or vote Voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an Constituenc ...
(Article 68) urging members not to vote for his government like his predecessors. The motion was defeated in the ''Bundestag'' on 1 July 2005 by 151 (about 43 % of the SPD and most Greens, who were a part of the government) to 296 (the whole CDU and FDP) with 148 abstaining (most of the SPD and some Green " Realos"). After the Federal President dissolved the ''Bundestag'' and some deputies protested, the
Federal Constitutional Court The Federal Constitutional Court (german: Bundesverfassungsgericht; abbreviated: ') is the supreme constitutional court A constitutional court is a high court High court usually refers to the superior court In common law systems, a s ...
, once again, allowed such move in August. The 2005 German federal elections were held on 18 September. Schröder's SPD-Green coalition lost seats largely due to arrival of a new party, The Left, shunned by all the others, so even the victorius CDU/CSU led by
Angela Merkel Angela Dorothea Merkel ( Kasner; born 17 July 1954) is a German politician serving as the chancellor of Germany The chancellor of Germany, officially the Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (german: Bundeskanzler(in) der ...

Angela Merkel
with the FDP did not achieve a majority. On October 10 it was announced that the two major parties would form a
grand coalition A grand coalition is an arrangement in a multi-party In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology ...

grand coalition
. Schröder agreed to cede the chancellorship to Merkel, but the SPD would hold the majority of government posts and retain considerable control of government policy. Merkel was elected Chancellor on 22 November.


Spain

A very similar system to the German one was adopted in the new
Constitution of Spain The Spanish Constitution (Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish Rive ...
of 1978 for the national Cortes (parliament) and also came into force in territorial assemblies (parliaments/assemblies of autonomous communities). Despite Spanish constitutional history being very different from that of Germany (and Spain deciding to have the monarchy protected by an
entrenched clause An entrenched clause or entrenchment clause of a basic law or constitution is a provision that makes certain amendments either more difficult or impossible to pass, making such amendments invalid. Overriding an entrenched clause may require a super ...
while Germany had been a Republic since 1919), the
German Basic Law The Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany (german: Grundgesetz für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland) is the constitution of the Germany, Federal Republic of Germany. The West German Constitution was approved in Bonn on 8 May 1949 and ...
was seen as "success model" at the time and this is just one of several provisions the framers of the Spanish constitution lifted wholesale from the German model. Some, like the equivalent of the controversial Article 155 of the Spanish constitution which deals with Federal execution have never been used in practice in Germany. The
Prime Minister of Spain The president of the Government of Spain ( es, link=no, Presidente del Gobierno de España), commonly referred to in Spain as ''Presidente del Gobierno'', and known in English as the prime minister of Spain, is the head of government of Spain. ...
(President of the Government) must resign if he proposes a vote of confidence to the
Congress of Deputies The Congress of Deputies ( es, link=no, Congreso de los Diputados) is the lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chamb ...
(the lower chamber of the ''
Cortes Generales The Cortes Generales (; en, Spanish Parliament, lit=General Courts) are the bicameral Bicameralism is the practice of having a legislature A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative ...
'', Spanish parliament) and is defeated, or alternatively, if the Congress censures the government on its own initiative. However, when a censure motion is introduced, a prospective replacement candidate for Prime Minister must be nominated at the same time. If the censure motion carries, the replacement candidate is deemed to have the confidence of the Congress and automatically ascends as Prime Minister. :Article 113 1. The Congress of Deputies may require political responsibility from the Government by adopting a motion of censure (no confidence) by overall (absolute) majority of its Members. 2. The motion of censure (no confidence) must be proposed by at least one tenth of the Members of Congress of Deputies and shall include a candidate for the office of the Presidency of the Government. 3. The motion of censure (no confidence) may not be voted until five days after it has been submitted. During the first two days of this period, alternative motions may be submitted. 4. If the motion of censure (no confidence) is not adopted by the Congress of Deputies, its signatories may not submit another during the same period of sessions. :Article 114 1. If the Congress of Deputies withholds its confidence from the Government, the latter shall submit its resignation to the King, whereafter the President of the Government shall be nominated in accordance with the provisions of Article 99. 2. If the Congress of Deputies adopts a motion of censure (no confidence), the Government shall present its resignation to the King and the candidate included in it shall be understood to have the confidence of the Chamber for the purposes provided in section 99. The King shall appoint him President of the Government. There have been five attempted constructive votes of no confidence. The first successful vote came on 1 June 2018, when
Mariano Rajoy Mariano Rajoy Brey (; born 27 March 1955) is a Spanish politician who served as Prime Minister of Spain The president of the Government of Spain ( es, link=no, Presidente del Gobierno de España), commonly referred to in Spain as ''Preside ...

Mariano Rajoy
( People's Party) was voted out in favour of Pedro Sánchez (
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party ( es, Partido Socialista Obrero Español ; PSOE ) is a social-democratic Social democracy is a Political philosophy, political, Social philosophy, social, and economic philosophy within socialism that s ...
).


Hungary

Under the October 1989 democratic revision of the 1949 Constitution, the
National Assembly of Hungary The National Assembly ( hu, Országgyűlés, lit=Country Assembly) is the parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * ...
could not remove the
Prime Minister of Hungary The prime minister of Hungary ( hu, Magyarország miniszterelnöke) is the head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Exe ...
unless a prospective successor was nominated (and elected) at the same time: Article 39A (1): :A motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister may be initiated by a written petition, which includes the nomination for a candidate for the office of Prime Minister, by no less than one-fifth of the Members of the National Assembly. A motion of no-confidence in the Prime Minister is considered a motion of no-confidence in the Government as well. Should, on the basis of this motion, the majority of the Members of the National Assembly withdraw their confidence, then the candidate nominated for Prime Minister in the motion shall be considered to have been elected.


Use

In March 2009 the prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány (Hungarian Socialist Party, MSZP) announced he would hand over his position to a politician with a higher support of the parliament parties. The opposition Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) refused most candidates for the post proposed by the MSZP, but on 30 March 2009, Gordon Bajnai managed to get the backing of both parties. A constructive motion of no confidence against Ferenc Gyurcsány took place on 14 April and Bajnai became Prime Minister.


Fundamental Law of Hungary

The new Constitution of Hungary, the Fundamental Law in force from 2012, has almost identical provisions that allow only constructive vote of no confidence by the absolute majority of the
National Assembly of Hungary The National Assembly ( hu, Országgyűlés, lit=Country Assembly) is the parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * ...
. :Article 21 (1) One-fifth of the Members of the National Assembly may, together with the designation of a candidate for the office of Prime Minister, submit a written motion of no-confidence against the Prime Minister. (2) If the National Assembly supports the motion of no-confidence, it thereby expresses its lack of confidence in the Prime Minister and simultaneously elects the person proposed for the office of Prime Minister in the motion of no-confidence. For such decision of the National Assembly, the votes of more than half of the Members of the National Assembly shall be required. (3) The Prime Minister may put forward a confidence vote. The National Assembly expresses its lack of confidence in the Prime Minister if more than half of the Members of the National Assembly do not support the Prime Minister in the confidence vote proposed by the Prime Minister. (4) The Prime Minister may propose that the vote on a proposal submitted by the Government be simultaneously a confidence vote. The National Assembly expresses its lack of confidence in the Prime Minister if it does not support the proposal submitted by the Government. (5) The National Assembly shall decide on the question of confidence after the third day, but no later than eight days following the submission of the motion of no-confidence or of the Prime Minister’s motion pursuant to Paragraphs (3) or (4).


Lesotho

Subsection (8) of section 87 of the Constitution of Lesotho stipulates that a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister of Lesotho is of no effect unless the National Assembly of Lesotho, National Assembly nominates one of its members to be appointed prime minister in place of the incumbent: :A resolution of no confidence in the Government of Lesotho shall not be effective for the purposes of subsections (5)(a) and (7)(e) unless it proposes the name of a member of the National Assembly for the King to appoint in the place of the Prime Minister.


Israel

The constructive vote of no confidence has been in place since the direct election of the Prime Minister of Israel was abolished in 2001. By a vote of no confidence the Knesset (parliament) did not elect new prime minister but only proposed a ''formateur'': a presumptive nominee charged with seeking to form a new government. The candidate proposed then might or might not secure a positive vote of confidence before becoming prime minister. The system, therefore, did not guarantee continuity in the same way as the constructive vote of no confidence was used in Germany and elsewhere. Amendment No. I of the Basic Laws of Israel, Basic Law of Government 2001 removed the ''formateur'', switching to a conventional constructive vote of no confidence. The Basic Laws of Israel, Basic Law of Government 2001 provides in Section 28 (b): :An expression of no confidence in the Government shall be done by means of a resolution of the Knesset, adopted by the majority of its Members to express confidence in another Government that announced basic guidelines of its policy, its make-up and the distribution of functions among Ministers, as stated in article 13 (d). The new Government shall be established once the Knesset has expressed confidence in it, and from that time the Ministers shall go into office.


Poland

The Constitution of Poland (1997) states that the ''Sejm'' (lower chamber of the National Assembly of Poland) may remove the Council of Ministers of Poland (cabinet) only by a resolution (adopted by absolute majority) which specifies the name of the new Prime Minister. :Article 158 The Sejm shall pass a vote of no confidence in the Council of Ministers by a majority of votes of the statutory number of Deputies, on a motion moved by at least 46 Deputies and that shall specify the name of a candidate for Prime Minister. If such a resolution has been passed by the Sejm, the President of the Republic shall accept the resignation of the Council of Ministers and appoint a new Prime Minister as chosen by the Sejm, and, on his application, the other members of the Council of Ministers and accept their oath of office. A motion to pass a resolution referred to in para. 1 above, may be put to a vote no sooner than 7 days after it has been submitted. A subsequent motion of a like kind may be submitted no sooner than after the end of 3 months from the day the previous motion was submitted.


Albania

The Constitution of Albania (1998 as amended in 2008 and 2012) stipulates also that only constructive vote of no confidence may be adopted by the absolute majority of the unicameral Deliberative assembly, Assembly (parliament) deputies. :Article 104 [Motion of confidence] 1. The Prime Minister has the right to submit to the Assembly a motion of confidence in the Council of Ministers. If the motion of confidence is voted by fewer than half of all the members of the Assembly, within 48 hours from the voting on the motion, the Prime Minister asks the President of the Republic to dissolve the Assembly. 2. The President dissolves the Assembly within 10 days from receipt of the request. A request for a motion of confidence may not be submitted during the period when a motion of no confidence according to article 105 is being examined. 3. The motion may not be voted on unless three days have passed from its submission. :Article 105 [Motion of no confidence] 1. One fifth of the deputies have the right to submit for voting in the Assembly a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister in office, proposing a new Prime Minister. 2. The Assembly may vote a motion of no confidence against the Prime Minister only by electing a new Prime Minister with the votes of more than half of all its members. 3. The President of the Republic decrees the discharge of the Prime Minister in office and the appointment of the elected Prime Minister no later than 10 days from the voting on the motion in the Assembly.


Slovenia

According to the Constitution of Slovenia (1991 as amended in 1997, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2013) the National Assembly (''Državni zbor'', lower chamber of the parliament) may pass a
motion of no confidence A motion of no confidence, vote of no confidence, or no confidence motion, sometimes in the reverse as a motion of confidence or vote of confidence, is a statement or vote Voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an Constituenc ...
in the Government only by electing a new prime minister. :Article 116 [Vote of no confidence] The National Assembly may pass a vote of no confidence in the Government only by electing a new President of the Government on the proposal of at least ten deputies and by a majority vote of all deputies. The incumbent President of the Government is thereby dismissed, but together with his ministers he must continue to perform his regular duties until the swearing in of a new Government. No less than forty-eight hours must elapse between the lodging of a proposal to elect a new President of the Government and the vote itself, unless the National Assembly decides otherwise by a two-thirds majority vote of all deputies, or if the country is at war or in a state of emergency. Where the President of the Government has been elected on the basis of the fourth paragraph of Article 111, a vote of no confidence is expressed in him if on the proposal of at least ten deputies, the National Assembly elects a new President of the Government by a majority of votes cast. :Article 117 [Vote of confidence] The President of the Government may require a vote of confidence in the Government. If the Government does not receive the support of a majority vote of all deputies, within thirty days the National Assembly must elect a new President of the Government or in a new vote express its confidence in the incumbent President of the Government, or failing this, the President of the Republic dissolves the National Assembly and calls new elections. The President of the Government may tie the issue of confidence to the adoption of a law or to some other decision in the National Assembly. If such decision is not adopted, it is deemed that a vote of no confidence in the Government has been passed. No less than forty-eight hours must elapse between the requirement of a vote of confidence and the vote itself.


Belgium

The Kingdom of Belgium adopted constructive vote of no confidence in the Constitution of Belgium (1994 coordinated text) article considering the dissolution of parliament. :Article 46 [Reasons for Dissolution] (1) The King has only the right to dissolve the Chamber of Representatives if the latter, with the absolute majority of its members: 1) either rejects a motion of confidence in the federal Government and does not propose to the King, within three days from the day of the rejection of the motion, the nomination of a successor to the Prime Minister; 2) or adopts a motion of disapproval (no confidence) with regard to the federal Government and does not simultaneously propose to the King the nomination of a successor to the Prime Minister. (2) The motions of confidence and disapproval can only be voted on after a delay of forty-eight hours after the introduction of the motion. (3) Moreover, the King may, in the event of the resignation of the federal Government, dissolve the Chamber of Representatives after having received its agreement expressed by the absolute majority of its members. (4) The dissolution of the Chamber of Representatives entails the dissolution of the Senate. (5) The act of dissolution involves the convoking of the electorate within forty days and of the Chambers within two months.


Westminster systems

In partisan Westminster systems, a constructive vote of no confidence is normally not required. A prime minister faced with a vote of no confidence must either resign immediately or request a dissolution of parliament and fresh elections. This system is normally stable because strong political parties in the Westminster system ensure a very small number of viable candidates to replace a prime minister, and also ensures frequent and stable majority governments. However, this was not always the case historically, especially in Westminster systems without clearly defined political parties. In such circumstances, it was often the case that the sitting prime minister would be unpopular with parliamentarians but also might not have a viable successor who could have a better command of the parliament. In such cases, it was informally expected that parliament refrain from a vote of no confidence unless there was a reasonably obvious successor, in which case the prime minister would usually be expected to resign without recourse to fresh elections. On the other hand, if a prime minister in a nonpartisan Westminster system sustained a vote of no confidence in spite of the lack of an obviously viable successor then depending on the circumstances he might have up to two alternatives to resignation: call fresh elections or attempt to continue governing in spite of the non-confidence vote.


See also

* Parliamentary system * Parliamentary sovereignty * Motion of no confidence


References

{{Reflist German constitutional law Motions of no confidence de:Konstruktives Mißtrauensvotum