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 about whether a person in a (, , etc.) is still deemed fit to hold that position, such as because they are inadequate in some aspect, fail to carry out their obligations, or make decisions that other members feel as being detrimental. The demonstrates to the that the elected either has or no longer has confidence in one or more members of the appointed . In some countries, a no confidence motion being passed against an individual requires the minister to resign. In most cases, if the minister in question is the , all other ministers must also resign. A motion is different from a no-confidence motion. Depending on the of the body concerned, "no confidence" may lead to the dismissal of the or other position-holders and often the of most of the leadership of the executive branch. On the other hand, "censure" is meant to show disapproval and does not result in the resignation of ministers. The motion of censure may be against an individual minister or a group of ministers. However, depending on a country's constitution, a no-confidence motion may be more directed against the entire . Again, depending on the applicable rules, censure motions may need to state the reasons for the motion, but specific reasons may not be required for no confidence motions.

Parliamentary systems

There are a number of variations in this procedure between parliaments. In some countries, a motion of no confidence can be directed at the government collectively or at any individual member, including the . Sometimes, motions of no confidence are proposed even though they have no likelihood of passage simply to pressure a government or to embarrass its own critics, who may for political reasons decide not to vote against it. In many , there are strict time limits for no confidence motions such as being allowed only once every three, four or six months. Thus, the timing of a motion of no confidence is a matter of political judgement. A motion of no confidence on a relatively trivial matter may then prove counterproductive if a more important issue suddenly arises that actually warrants a motion of no confidence. Sometimes, the government chooses to declare that one of its bills is a "motion of confidence" to prevent dissident members of its own party voting against it.


In the , a motion of no confidence requires a in the to agree to it. The House of Representatives has 151 members and so requires 76 votes in favour of the motion when all members of the House are present. A straight vote of no confidence in the and a motion or amendment censuring a government have never been successful in the House of Representatives. However, governments have on on eight occasions resigned or advised a dissolution after their defeat on other questions before the House. The last time that a government resigned after being defeated in the House came in October 1941, when the House rejected the budget of 's minority government. Specific motions of no confidence or against the , ministers, the , and leaders of political parties have been successful on some occasions. Motions of no confidence against the government may be passed in the but have little or no impact in the House. However, the Senate's right to refuse supply helped spark the . The convention remains a grey area, as Westminster governments are not normally expected to maintain the confidence of the upper house.


In the , there is no provision to hold motions of no-confidence, as a result of , which prohibits Members of Parliament voting against their party and made the removal of a sitting government unattainable.


In , a vote of no confidence is a motion that the legislature disapproves and no longer consents to the governing or provincial and the incumbent Cabinet. A vote of no confidence that passes leads to the fall of the incumbent government. Originating as a , it remains an uncodified practice which is not outlined in any standing orders for the . A no confidence motion may be directed against only the incumbent government in the legislature, with votes of no confidence against the legislature's being inadmissible. At the federal level, a vote of no confidence is a motion presented by a member of the House of Commons that explicitly states the House has no confidence in the incumbent government. The government may also declare any bill or motion to be a question of confidence. Several motions and bills are also considered implicit motions on confidence, and a vote of no confidence may be asserted automatically if such a bill fails to pass. Bills and motions that are considered implicit motions of confidence includes appropriations or s, motions concerning budgetary policy, and the Address in Reply to the . The failure to pass those bills may be used as an automatic assertion of a vote of no confidence, but the opposition is not obligated to assert the failure as a no confidence motion against the government. If a vote of no confidence passes, the Prime Minister is required to submit his or her resignation to the , who may either invite the leader of another coalition/party to attempt to form a new government in the House of Commons, or dissolve Parliament and call a . Six motions of no confidence have been passed in the House of Commons: in 1926, 1963, 1974, 1979, 2005, and 2011. All successful votes of no confidence in the 20th century were the result of a ; votes of no confidence in 2005 and 2011 were the result of explicit confidence motions presented by the opposition. The confidence convention is also present in the provincial legislatures of Canada, operating much like their federal counterpart. However, the decision to dissolve the legislature and call an election or to see if another coalition/party can form a government is left to the provincial , not the Governor General. Two Canadian territories, the and , operate as a system in which the premier is chosen by the members of the nonpartisan legislature. If a vote of no confidence against the incumbent government passes, the premier and the cabinet are removed from office, and the legislature elects a new premier. In a consensus governments, confidence motions may be directed against any individual ministers holding office as they are also nominated by members of the legislature.

European Union

The can dismiss the , the executive body of the European Union, through a successful motion of no confidence, which requires a two-thirds vote. A successful vote on the motion leads to the resignation of the entire Commission.


In ,German Constitution Official English Translation
Article 67 - Vote of No Confidence
a vote of no confidence in the requires the opposition, on the same ballot, to propose a candidate of its own whom it wants the to appoint as its successor. Thus, a motion of no confidence may be brought forward only if there is a positive majority for the new candidate. The idea was to prevent the state crises that occurred near the end of the German . Frequently, chancellors were then turned out of office without their successors having enough parliamentary support to govern. Unlike the British system, chancellors do not have to resign in response to the failure of a vote of confidence if it has been initiated by them, rather than by the parliamentary opposition, but they may ask the President to call general elections, a request that the President decides on whether to fulfill.


The Parliament may, by its decision, withdraw its confidence from the Government or from a member of it. A motion of no confidence can only be submitted six months after the Parliament has rejected a previous one. The motion must be signed by at least one-sixth of the Members and must clearly state the issues to be debated. A motion of no confidence is accepted only if it is approved by the absolute majority of the total number of Members.


In India, a motion of no confidence can be introduced only in the (the of the ) and is admitted for discussion when at least 50 percent members support the motion (under Rule 198 of Lok Sabha Rules, 16th edition). If the motion carries, the house debates and votes on the motion. If a majority of the members vote in favour of the motion, it is passed, and the government is bound to vacate the office. moved the first-ever no confidence motion on the floor of the Lok Sabha in August 1963, immediately after the disastrous . As of July 2019, 27 nonconfidence motions have been moved. Prime Minister faced the most no confidence motions (15), followed by and (three each), (two) and , , , (one each). Vajpayee lost the no confidence motion by a margin of one vote (269-270) in April 1999. Prime Minister Desai resigned on 12 July 1979. The most recent no confidence motion was against the government and accepted by the Speaker but defeated by 325–126. With the , a vote of no confidence has no relevance when the majority party has an absolute majority since it can party members to vote in favour of the government; it is thus impossible to remove the government by a no confidence motion. Hence, the no confidence exercise of the house becomes a no confidence exercise of the party.


In , if a motion of no confidence in the or the is passed by the , and the Taoiseach and the government do not resign, the Dáil must be dissolved and a must be called.


The motion of no confidence is outlined in Israeli Basic Law Article 28 and Article 44 of the Knesset's Rule of Procedure.


In , the government requires the support of both houses of . A vote of no confidence may be proposed if a tenth of the members of either house sign the proposition and within three days before the appointed date, the vote can be brought into discussion. After the case of in 1995 and the subsequent sentence in 1996, it is possible to propose an individual vote of no confidence against a single , instead of the whole government.


Article 69 of the 1947 provides that "if the passes a non-confidence resolution, or rejects a confidence resolution, the shall resign en masse, unless the House of Representatives is dissolved within ten (10) days."


The has provision for a no confidence motion in all constituents of the of the state. The motions can target speakers and deputy speakers of and , the , of , as well as the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of . Before it can be put for vote on the pertinent house's floor, it must have the backing of at least 20% of the elected members in all cases except those moved against speakers or deputy speakers in which case there is no minimum. After being put to vote, the motion is deemed to be successful only if passed by a majority. The no confidence procedure has historically been mostly used to remove speakers and deputy speakers. Of the 11 times that the motion has been invoked, nine cases targeted those posts, with four being effective. An incumbent Prime Minister of Pakistan has only been subject to a no confidence vote once, in November 1989, when faced an ultimately-unsuccessful motion by . The same is the case for a provincial , as the only instance of its use is the one moved against Chief Minister of , in January 2018, who resigned before the vote could take place.


In Peru, both the legislative and the executive branches have the power to bring a motion of no confidence against acting legal members of the other branch. The President of the Cabinet may propose a motion of no confidence against any minister to Congress, which then needs more than half the Congress to approve it. The may dissolve if it has censured or denied its confidence to two Cabinets. The relevant Articles 132-134 are in the 1993 version of the . During the , President enacted a constitutional process on 29 May 2019 to create a motion of no confidence towards Congress if it refused to co-operate with his proposed actions against corruption.

South Africa

Any MP in the may request a motion of no confidence in either the Cabinet, excluding the , or the President. The Speaker, within the rules of , must add such a motion to the Order Paper and give it due priority. If a motion of no confidence cannot be scheduled by the last sitting day of the annual sitting, it must be the first item on the Order Paper of the next sitting. In the event of a successful motion, the Speaker automatically assumes the position of acting president. On 7 August 2017, Speaker announced that she would permit a motion of no confidence in 's government to proceed in the National Assembly via . It was the eighth motion to be brought against Zuma in his presidency and the first to be held via secret ballot. After the vote was held the next day, the motion was defeated 198–177, with 25 abstentions. Around 20 governing MPs voted in favour of the measure.


The provides for motions of no confidence to be proposed by one tenth of the . Following the German model, votes of no confidence in Spain are and so the motion must also include an alternative candidate for . For a motion of no confidence to be successful, it has to be carried by an absolute majority in the Congress of Deputies. At least five days must pass after the motion is registered before it can come up for a vote. Other parties may submit alternative motions within two days of the registration. Also, the Prime Minister is barred from dissolving the and calling a general election while a motion of no confidence is pending. If the motion is successful, the incumbent Prime Minister must resign. According to the Constitution, the replacement candidate named in the motion is automatically deemed to have the confidence of the Congress of Deputies and is immediately appointed as Prime Minister by the . If the motion is unsuccessful, its signatories may not submit another motion during the same session. The current Prime Minister was sworn in on 2 June 2018 after a against Prime Minister had been approved on 1 June 2018.


A motion of no confidence may be levelled against either the on behalf of the entire or against an individual lower-level minister. At least 35 members of parliament (MPs) must support a proposal to initiate such a vote. A majority of MPs (175 members) must vote for a motion of no confidence for it to be successful. An individual minister who loses a confidence vote must resign. If a prime minister loses a no confidence vote, the entire government must resign. The speaker may allow the ousted prime minister to head a transitional or caretaker government until Parliament elects a new prime minister. Under the principle of negative parliamentarism, a prime ministerial candidate nominated by the Speaker does not need the confidence of a majority of MPs to be elected. However, a majority of MPs must not vote against the candidate, which renders prime ministerial votes similar to no confidence votes. That means that a prime ministerial candidate, to be successful in the parliamentary vote, must have at least a total of 175 votes in favour and/or abstention. If a Speaker fails four times to have a nominee elected, an election must be held within three months of the final vote.

United Kingdom

Traditionally, in the , the defeat of a , which concerns the spending of money, is seen to require automatically for the government to resign or ask for a new election, much like a no confidence vote. A government in a Westminster system that cannot spend money is hamstrung, which is also called a . Prior to 2011, in the , a no confidence motion generally first appeared as an although the vote on the was also a confidence motion. However, under the , only a motion explicitly resolving that "this House has no confidence in Her Majesty's Government" is treated as a motion of no confidence.

Semi-presidential systems

In , the legislature may occasionally pass motions of no confidence, which removes only the cabinet and the prime minister. The legislature may also have the power to an executive or judicial officer, with another institution or the legislature removing the officer from their office.


In , the lower house of the (the ) may by a (at least 226 votes out of 450) pass a motion of no confidence against the as a whole. In that case, the matter goes for consideration of the , who may choose to dismiss the cabinet, which he can do anyway anytime at his own discretion, or just to ignore the Duma's decision. If the Duma passes a second motion of no confidence against the same composition of the cabinet within three months, the President is forced to make a concrete decision on whether to dismiss the government or to dissolve the Duma itself and call for new . The State Duma may not be dissolved on those grounds if it was elected less than a year earlier, if it has already initiated impeachment proceedings against the President himself by bringing respective accusations, if less than six months remain left until presidential elections, or if there is a or throughout the whole territory of Russia. In the above-mentioned cases, the President is then effectively forced to dismiss the government.


In , the lower house of (the ) may by a simple vote pass a motion of no confidence against the as a whole. In that case, the government is removed from power, and the has to appoint a new , who then has to form a new government.

Sri Lanka

In , the may pass a motion of no confidence against the . In that case, the government is removed from power and the has to appoint a new , who has to form a new government.


The first motion of no confidence against an entire government occurred in March 1782 when, following news of the in the the previous October, the voted that it "can no longer repose confidence in the present ministers". responded by asking King to accept his resignation. That did not immediately create a . Although it is considered the first formal motion of no-confidence, Sir 's resignation after a defeat on a vote in the House of Commons in 1742 is considered to be the first ''de facto'' motion of no-confidence. During the early 19th century, attempts by prime ministers, such as , to govern in the absence of a parliamentary majority proved unsuccessful, and by the mid-19th century, the power of a motion of no confidence to break a government was firmly established in the UK. In the United Kingdom, 11 prime ministers have been defeated through a no-confidence motion, but there has been only one such motion since 1925, in (against ). In modern times, passage of a motion of no confidence is a relatively rare event in two-party democracies. In almost all cases, is sufficient to allow a majority party to defeat a motion of no confidence, and if faced with possible defections in the government party, the government is likely to change its policies, rather than lose a vote of no confidence. The cases in which a motion of no confidence has passed are generally those in which the government party's slim majority has been eliminated by either s or defections, such as the in the UK which was carried by one vote and forced a general election, which was won by 's . Motions of no confidence are far more common in multi-party systems in which a minority party must form a . That can mean that there have been many short-lived governments because the party structure allows small parties to defeat a government without the means to create a government. This has widely been regarded as the cause of instability for the and the German . More recent examples have been in between the 1950s and 1990s, , and . To deal with that situation, the French placed a greater degree of executive power in the office of the , who is immune from motions of no confidence, along with a , which makes it easier to form a stable . In 2008, , of the re-elected minority government of Canada, successfully requested to . That allowed Harper to delay a potential vote on the non-confidence motion presented by the opposition. (See .) Three years later, in 2011, Harper's minority government was defeated by a motion of non-confidence, which declared the government to be in and led to an . In 2013, during the pro-European riots, the opposition in called for a motion of no confidence against the Cabinet of Ministers, led by the pro-Russian and Prime Minister . At least 226 votes were needed to gain a majority in Ukraine's . However, it fell 40 votes short, and Azarov's government prevailed. On 1 June 2018, in , the of was ousted after a passed 180–169 after the sentence of the , which involved the ruling party. was sworn in as the new . That was the first time in the that a vote of no confidence resulted in a change of government. On 25 September 2018, was ousted after he lost a vote of no confidence in the after an election was held on 9 September. The centre-left bloc led by Löfven's Social Democratic Party won only 144 seats in parliament, 31 seats short of an absolute majority and just one seat more than the opposition Alliance for Sweden bloc. The Sweden Democrats, having just won 62 seats, also voted with the main opposition bloc's motion of no confidence.

See also

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