Vote of no confidence
In a parliamentary system of government, a vote of no confidence is a majority parliamentary resolution that removes the government , the head of government or a specific minister if the constitution provides for this possibility. A no-confidence vote relieve those against whom it is directed, his Office .
If it is not tied to the simultaneous appointment of a successor, it is known as a destructive vote of no confidence . In the case of a constructive vote of no confidence , however, a new candidate is elected at the same time. In this way, parliament takes on the responsibility of defusing a government crisis by expressing new confidence at the moment of the withdrawal of confidence, i.e. at the same time realigning and shaping executive power, instead of merely demonstrating its rejection of the previous government. If a constructive vote of no confidence is legally stipulated, this typically rules out the possibility of a destructive vote of no confidence.
The vote is preceded by the motion of no confidence . In the constitutions of most states, it must be supported by a minimum number of MPs (around a quarter) and the vote must take place within a certain period.
German federal level
The(GG) - since its promulgation on 23 May 1949 unchanged - is as follows:
The Weimar Constitution (WRV) of 1919 decreed wording of adequate no fuses in the case of government inability of Parliament. Art. 54 WRV stipulated that “the Reich Chancellor and the Reich Ministers [...] required the confidence of the Reichstag to exercise their office ”. Every member of the Reich government had to resign "if the Reichstag by express resolution withdrew his confidence". In this way the Reich government was always in danger of being overthrown by a majority without a common will to govern, which was directed exclusively against the Reich government, or of being destabilized by the removal of individual ministers. This was widely used by extreme left and extreme right forces, whose only political commonality was their rejection of democracy .
State law teachers had also seen this problem . Since 1927 constitutional lawyers, first Heinrich Herrfahrdt, demanded a procedural connection between “approbation” and “reprobation” ( Erich Kaufmann ), that is, to allow the overthrow of a government only if there was an alternative capable of majority voting. Above all, Carl Schmitt made this demand in his constitutional theory published in 1928 : “If the motives openly contradict each other and, for example, German nationalists and communists vote for a motion of no confidence, the difference in motives evidently closes the necessary and reasonable correlate of a no-confidence resolution, namely the possibility of trust and the formation of a new government. The decision of no confidence is then an act of mere obstruction . The duty to resign cannot exist here, at least not if the dissolution of the Reichstag is ordered at the same time. ”However, the prevailing doctrine , represented primarily by Gerhard Anschütz , did not follow this. In his leading constitutional commentary, Anschütz formulated: “The view of Carl Schmitt, according to which a no-confidence decision should be ineffective if the motives of the parliamentary groups voting for him 'openly contradict one another', must de lege ferenda be fully approved; that they are already lex lata , m. a. I cannot admit that Art. 54 is the meaning of it. "
During the Weimar state crisis, the Reich government reacted to the danger of obstruction by negative majorities by dissolving the parliament in accordance with Article 25 WRV (right of the Reich President to dissolve parliament ). In the period up to the prescribed new election (60 days after dissolution) , it governed with the help of so-called emergency ordinances , which were based on the authority of the Reich President to take measures under Article 48 WRV. The dissolution of the parliament, which did not support the government, undermined its right to repeal emergency presidential ordinances under Article 48, Paragraph 3 (“The measures are to be overridden at the request of the Reichstag”). Conversely, without dissolution, Parliament could have completely blocked any formation of a government through constant votes of no confidence in accordance with Art.
Since the permanent dissolution of parliament only exacerbated the crisis, solutions were sought from the end of the 1920s. The proposed solutions were very different. Ernst Fraenkel , who is usually referred to as the “father of the constructive vote of no confidence”, called for parliamentary obstruction through constitutional reform to be prevented: “The reform of the constitution is to be designed in such a way that a Reichstag that is incapable of majority and incapable of action all rights and opportunities Parliament needs, retains, while a parliament that is not able to represent the decisive factor of state decision-making is hindered from rendering the other responsible bodies incapable of action. ”Fraenkel was well aware that a constitutional amendment was precisely because of the problem that had to be resolved Problem was not possible: “The origin of the difficulties in which we find ourselves can be seen in the incapacity of the parliament, which is unable to act. If a constitutional reform were possible with the existing Reichstag, this constitutional reform would be superfluous. The impossibility of having the constitutional reform carried out by parliament makes it necessary. ”Fraenkel therefore proposed an authoritarian change with subsequent plebiscite legitimation. Others said that one should simply interpret the constructive vote of no confidence in the constitution and simply ignore the corresponding motions with the reference that obstruction was not in keeping with the spirit of the constitution. The Reich government of Schleicher, on the other hand, wanted, after all attempts at cross-camp cooperation had failed, to declare a supra-legal state emergency and permanently dissolve the Reichstag. This is justified by the oath of the Reich President to "ward off harm to the people" in accordance with Art. 42 WRV.
Here it becomes clear that the possibility of obstruction of the Reichstag was suitable to urge the state into an unconstitutional government practice. This missing "connection between license to practice medicine and reprobation" (Erich Kaufmann) was therefore considered to be a key problem of the Weimar constitution. Contrary to popular opinion, the main problem was not the destructive vote of no confidence (Art. 54 WRV) - this could be countered with a managing government - but the power to repeal emergency presidential ordinances (Art. 48 Para. 3 WRV). If a state body had the opportunity to block any government activity for purely negative motives, then the constitution was not designed to be crisis-proof. It was precisely this mistake that they wanted to avoid when formulating the Basic Law after the Second World War .
Therefore, the introduction of a constructive vote of no confidence in the Parliamentary Council , which drafted the Basic Law in 1948/49, was never controversial. The constitutional convention on Herrenchiemsee had already proposed the establishment of the constructive vote of no confidence, known at the time as a “positive vote of no confidence”. Although the FDP's Thomas Dehler pleaded for a Chancellor to be elected jointly by the Bundestag and Bundesrat , this proposal was rejected as this proposal could not prevent a government crisis. First, a confirmation of the federal ministers by the Bundestag as well as the possibility of removing individual ministers from the cabinet by means of a destructive vote of no confidence were resolved; However, these provisions were later rejected, which additionally strengthened the position of the Federal Chancellor, which had already been improved by the draft constitution. A fundamental crisis with a parliament with no majority, as in Weimar in recent years, would, however, also go beyond the constitutional order of the Basic Law.
"Legitimacy equals legality"
A federal government that has legally come into office through a constructive vote of no confidence is fully democratically legitimized. The Federal Constitutional Court made this determination on the occasion of an organ charge against the Federal President . This had dissolved the German Bundestag in 1983 after Chancellor Helmut Kohl had deliberately lost a vote on the vote of confidence and wanted to bring about new elections, because he and the coalition of the CDU , CSU and FDP that supported him were of the opinion that a new coalition was not just the Legality of the Basic Law, but also a new legitimation by the voters. Therefore, in the coalition negotiations of September 1982, they deliberately only formulated a so-called “emergency program” that was supposed to address the most pressing economic policy issues. All other questions should be put to the voter.
In the discussion between the announcement of the constructive vote of no confidence and the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court of February 16, 1983, the argument was also put forward that the FDP entered the 1980 Bundestag election with the “promise” of further cooperation with the SPD ; a termination of this cooperation and a subsequent cooperation with the CDU / CSU without a previous election would be electoral deception and illegitimate, at least politically, but possibly also legally. On the other hand, the view was expressed that the CDU / CSU and FDP had already agreed before the constructive vote of no confidence to bring about new elections soon; thus the confidence that the Bundestag majority supported by these parties had expressed in the new Federal Chancellor was limited and a failure to hold new elections was therefore illegitimate.
The Federal Constitutional Court has contradicted both arguments with the formula “Legitimacy equals legality”: Due to the constitutionally formal legality of the procedure, the democratic legitimacy of the government that came into office in this way is constitutionally given. Further legitimation is not required. It described the argument that a government that came to power through a constructive vote of no confidence would require special democratic legitimation as an "irresponsible undertaking".
This case law works in two directions:
- The government has no room for maneuver with regard to the timing of the federal election by using the vote of confidence.
- Politically, a government must not ask the question of “new” political legitimacy. Because it came up as a constructive alternative. This results in a strengthening of the principle of representation and parliamentary continuity. In this sense, the government is to be understood as a parliamentary government.
The Federal Constitutional Court last issued a position on this issue in its 2005 judgment on the vote of confidence .
Requirements and legal consequences
The 48-hour period mentioned inGG has the task of enabling the previous Federal Chancellor to conduct negotiations with the Bundestag or parts of it, which could lead to his non-voting. In addition, surprise decisions should be avoided and every MP should be able to take part in the vote.
According to Rules of Procedure of the German Bundestag , the motion must be signed by at least a quarter of the members of the Bundestag or an equally large parliamentary group in accordance with GG . If the motion does not contain the name of a person to be elected Federal Chancellor, it may not be placed on the agenda , since such a motion does not meet the requirements of the constructive vote of no confidence. The election takes place - like the election of the Federal Chancellor according to GG - with hidden voting cards , i.e. secret . The rules of procedure also provide for the possibility of multiple candidates for voting. In any case, the elected person needs the votes of the majority of the members of the Bundestag.
If the application is unsuccessful, this political defeat of the applicant does not result in any constitutional consequences.
If the motion of censure is successful, however, the Federal President must implement the Bundestag resolution and immediately dismiss the entire Federal Government and appoint the new Federal Chancellor. He has no say during the procedure and no room for maneuver as with the dissolution of the Bundestag after the vote of confidence . At most, he can check the legal requirements, for example whether the person elected can be elected ( passive right to vote ).
This also ends the term of office of the previous Federal Ministers (GG) who, at the request of the Federal President, must continue their office - just like the former Federal Chancellor, who remains in office for a few minutes or hours - until their successors are appointed.
Constructive vote of no confidence in the event of a defense
para. 2 sentence 2 GG stipulates: "The joint committee can only express mistrust in the Federal Chancellor by electing a successor with a majority of two thirds of its members" .
According to Emergency Acts in 1969 , the Joint Committee , which takes on parliamentary tasks in such a case, can only express mistrust in the Federal Chancellor during a state of defense and if the Bundestag is unable to act , that it elects a successor with a majority of two thirds of its members. If the Bundestag is able to act, the provisions of Basic Law also apply in the event of a defense.(2) of the Basic Law, which was inserted into the Basic Law by the
Motions of censure without naming a successor at the same time
Motions of censure without naming a successor are not permitted in Germany. Therefore, there is also no possibility that an individual Federal Minister will be dismissed from the Federal Government by the Bundestag (in the practical sense - the Federal President formally dismisses federal ministers). If the Bundestag absolutely wanted to remove a Federal Minister from office, it would have to overthrow the Federal Chancellor and with it the entire Federal Government and trust that the newly elected Federal Chancellor would not allow the controversial Federal Minister to be reappointed. If he does, the Bundestag can at best overthrow him again, since according to Basic Law the Federal Ministers are determined exclusively by the Federal Chancellor.
However, every Federal Minister (and also the Federal Chancellor) can be asked by the Bundestag to resign from his office. Although the federal minister concerned would usually comply with this request, since he no longer has the political confidence of the majority of the Bundestag (and thus no longer all members of the coalition that supports his federal government), he is under no constitutional obligation to do so. Rather, such an application and a corresponding resolution of the Bundestag are only constitutionally permissible and unobjectionable because they have no constitutional consequences.
In addition to constitutional legality and thus - according to the case law of the Federal Constitutional Court - constitutional legitimacy, a constructive vote of no confidence also has a significant political effect. Since minority governments are extremely rare in Germany and then usually short-lived, a successful constructive vote of no confidence always requires a change in the political orientation of some members of the previous majority. For example, before the constructive vote of no confidence in 1972, some SPD and FDP parliamentary group members had declared their move to the Union , and before the vote of no confidence in 1982 the FDP changed from a red-yellow to a black-yellow coalition. Such a change is often delegitimized as “betrayal” and electoral deception by those deprived of their government majority; those who change coalitions describe this as politically necessary to assert their interests.
The constructive vote of no confidence gets its specialty from the fact that not only the previous Federal Chancellor is voted out, but also - and this at the same time - a new Federal Chancellor is appointed. The majority who have to replace the Federal Chancellor must have agreed on a successor at the same time, otherwise the application is inadmissible. This obligation emphasizes the strong position of the Federal Chancellor in the constitutional structure of the Basic Law: it is not enough for him to be voted out that he has a majority in the Bundestag against him; rather, the Bundestag must choose an alternative to it.
History of the constructive vote of no confidence in the Federal Republic
So far there have been two attempts in the Federal Republic of Germany to replace the incumbent Chancellor with a constructive vote of no confidence:
|date||Challenger (party)||Federal Chancellor (party)||Yes||No||abstention||absent / invalid||Necessary for success||Successful vote?|
|April 27, 1972||Rainer Barzel (CDU)||Willy Brandt (SPD)||247||10||3||236||249||No|
|October 1, 1982||Helmut Kohl (CDU)||Helmut Schmidt (SPD)||256||235||4th||2||249||Yes|
For a vote of no confidence to be successful, it must be supported by more than half of the MPs. A majority of the valid votes cast is not enough. Abstention and non-participation count as a no-vote. Therefore, the no-confidence vote against Willy Brandt had just failed, even though there were only ten no votes.
Rainer Barzel versus Willy Brandt 1972
Soon after his federal government, consisting of the SPD and FDP, took office in October 1969, Chancellor Willy Brandt endeavored to promote reconciliation with the East German neighbors, who were severely affected by National Socialism and who were now socialist , alongside the integration into the West , which was largely driven by Adenauer . These were from West German side with Poland (7 December 1970) and the Soviet Union , and later with the (12 August 1970) DDR , contracts concluded, which sought to normalize relations with these countries. In particular, the treaty with Poland , which de facto codified the Oder-Neisse border and with which the federal government gave up its claim to the German eastern territories , which were administered by Poland and the Soviet Union after the Second World War, generated massive protests from the CDU / CSU and the Associations of displaced persons . Already in October 1970 the MPs Erich Mende , Heinz Starke and Siegfried Zoglmann switched from the FDP to the CDU / CSU. On February 29, 1972, the expellee functionary Herbert Hupka switched from the SPD to the CDU / CSU parliamentary group. After MP Wilhelm Helms left the FDP parliamentary group on April 23, 1972 , and FDP MPs Knut von Kühlmann-Stumm and Gerhard Kienbaum had declared that they would vote for his opponent in the event of a constructive vote of no confidence against Brandt, the CDU calculated / CSU with 249 certain votes and on April 24, 1972 put the motion under Basic Law, which was voted on three days later.
Former Federal Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger started the debate on April 27, 1972 by substantiating the proposal of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group. Speeches by Herbert Wehner and Wolfgang Mischnick were followed by the Federal Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor , Walter Scheel . In an emotional contribution to the debate, he criticized the “change in the political majority without a vote” and said to the CDU / CSU, which he saw about to take on government responsibility: “Anyone who wants to build government power on this moral basis is building on sand. “With this, he mainly addressed the, in his view, characterless change of some FDP MPs to the side of the CDU / CSU. After a performance by the former Federal Foreign Minister Gerhard Schröder (CDU) , Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt spoke and defended his policy of the past two and a half years.
Of the (remaining) members of the SPD and FDP, almost only the federal ministers took part in the vote. On the one hand, this should prevent any "deviants" in the ranks of the SPD and FDP from voting, on the other hand, any "deviants" within the CDU / CSU should be able to vote against insofar as they did not cast the only one or two opposing votes. The SPD MP Günther Müller , who also cast a vote against the agreements, was later expelled from the SPD parliamentary group and switched to the CDU / CSU. Interviews with coalition MPs conducted during the count indicated that even they expected Barzel to win. Therefore, the result was generally surprising: Rainer Barzel received only 247 of the 260 votes cast; for an absolute majority he would have needed the 249 votes that were believed to be certain. There were ten no votes and three abstentions. This was the first constructive vote of no confidence in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Soon after the vote, rumors of a bribe surfaced. In June 1973 the member of the Bundestag Julius Steiner admitted to having abstained from the vote, for which he had received 50,000 DM from Karl Wienand , then parliamentary manager of the SPD parliamentary group. A committee of inquiry set up in 1973 ended with no results because Wienand denied his involvement and the committee was unable to prove the untruth on either side. After the end of the GDR it turned out that its Ministry for State Security (MfS) was involved in the bribery because, according to Erich Honecker , a Brandt government "is more pleasant for us than a government led by Barzel and Strauss ". Two days before the vote, GDR chief negotiator Michael Kohl had offered Egon Bahr to buy votes to rescue Brandt from the GDR side, but Brandt refused. Nevertheless, the GDR initiated the bribery under the code name “Company Brandtschutz”. Brigitte Seebacher indicated in her memoirs of 2006 that Steiner had cashed from Wienand and from the GDR. Besides him, Leo Wagner was also bribed by the MfS with 50,000 DM.
The stalemate, which persisted despite Barzel's defeat, finally led to Willy Brandt's vote of confidence in late summer 1972 , his planned defeat and new elections in November . For the first time, the SPD under Brandt won more votes than the CDU / CSU, and the coalition with the FDP was able to continue.
Helmut Kohl versus Helmut Schmidt 1982
Although Helmut Schmidt had clearly won a vote of confidence in February 1982, the disputes within the SPD intensified by the summer, especially over the NATO double decision , and the political differences to the FDP. The conflict over the federal budget in 1983 finally led to the breakup of the social-liberal coalition that had ruled since 1969 : At the request of the Federal Chancellor, the FDP Economics Minister Otto Graf Lambsdorff drafted a " concept for a policy to overcome weak growth and fight unemployment ", in which he himself joined many economic policy demands of the CDU / CSU. The SPD and its Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt understood this concept as a "divorce paper". On September 17, 1982, the FDP ministers resigned from their offices; they just got ahead of a dismissal by Chancellor Schmidt. Helmut Schmidt initially continued an SPD minority government, the FDP entered into coalition negotiations with the CDU / CSU, which ultimately led to a constructive vote of no confidence on October 1, 1982. There were serious disputes within the FDP. Some of their MPs who opposed the change, including FDP General Secretary Günter Verheugen and Ingrid Matthäus-Maier , left the FDP and joined the SPD after the vote. In the SPD, the coalition change of the FDP was described as "betrayal"; The election campaign for the state elections in Hesse , which ended a few days before the constructive vote of no confidence , was very emotional and harsh: It ended in a severe defeat for the FDP, which failed to return to the state parliament. The CDU also clearly missed the absolute majority expected by everyone. With the loss of the Union's coalition partner, the election ended in a victory for the SPD and the Greens .
Chancellor Helmut Schmidt opened the very heated Bundestag debate on the morning of October 1, 1982 and sharply attacked FDP chairman Hans-Dietrich Genscher : "Your conduct is legal, but it has no internal, no moral justification." Schmidt was followed by Rainer Barzel , who had lost the constructive vote of no confidence ten years earlier and has now justified the present motion of no confidence. He also sharply criticized Schmidt and, for his part, accused the SPD of having betrayed their own Federal Chancellor. The FDP parliamentary group leader Wolfgang Mischnick said that Schmidt himself had ended the coalition; he was disappointed that the Chancellor had 'sold' his own conduct as a betrayal of the FDP. In a personal explanation of the vote, the FDP MP Hildegard Hamm-Brücher stated that the constructive vote of no confidence would damage the “moral and moral integrity” of changes of power, whereupon the CDU General Secretary Heiner Geissler protested sharply and proclaimed that a constitutional process “never will immoral ”. In the end, Helmut Kohl took the floor again and supported Geißler in this regard.
The vote itself was won by Helmut Kohl with 256 votes in favor, 235 against, four abstentions and two votes not cast. The second constructive vote of no confidence in the history of the Federal Republic was thus successful, even if at least 23 of the 279 members of the CDU / CSU and FDP did not vote for Kohl. Helmut Kohl became the sixth Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Despite the success, Helmut Kohl sought a new election in consultation with the FDP, which took place on March 6, 1983 after the vote of confidence in December 1982 and the constitutionally disputed dissolution of the Bundestag in January 1983 .
German country level
The constitution of the state of Baden-Württemberg of November 11, 1953 provides in its Article 54 that the state parliament can only withdraw the confidence of the prime minister by electing a successor with a majority of its members and the government of the state in accordance with the constitution regularly approved by the state parliament:
- The state parliament can only withdraw confidence in the Prime Minister by electing a successor with a majority of its members and confirming the government formed by him in accordance with Article 46 Paragraph 3. (Art. 54 para. 1)
Baden-Württemberg thus has a constructive vote of no confidence similar to the Basic Law, but it also has a destructive vote of no confidence against individual ministers:
- By resolution of two thirds of the members of the state parliament, the Prime Minister must dismiss a member of the government. (Art. 56)
The Constitution of the Free State of Bavaria of December 2, 1946 has neither a formalized vote of no confidence nor a vote of confidence by the Prime Minister. However, in Art. 44 it demands: "[The Prime Minister] must resign from office if the political situation makes it impossible for him and the Landtag to work together in a spirit of trust." (Paragraph 3, Clause 2)
This regulation sounds like a destructive vote of no confidence, but it is not: The Prime Minister and the entire state government remain in office until a successor is elected - only the external representation of Bavaria is transferred to the Landtag President, who is not recalled during this period (Art. 44 Paragraph 3 Clause 4 and 5 BV)
If no new Prime Minister is elected within four weeks of the resignation, the President of the Landtag must dissolve the Landtag. (Art. 44 para. 5 BV)
The Constitution of Berlin on 23 November 1995 provides in Article 57, first a destructive confidence vote against. Decides the House of Representatives by an absolute majority, a member of the Senate or the Senate total to withdraw confidence, the Senators concerned must resign immediately. However, if a new Senate is not elected within 21 days, the vote of no confidence loses its validity; the previously dismissed senators remain in office:
- The House of Representatives can withdraw confidence in the Senate and any of its members. (Paragraph 2 Sentence 1)
- The decision on a motion of no confidence requires the approval of the majority of the elected members of the House of Representatives. If a motion of no confidence is accepted, the members of the Senate affected by it must resign immediately. Every member of the Senate is obliged, upon request, to continue the business until the successor takes office. The vote of no confidence loses its effectiveness if a new election is not made within 21 days. (Paragraph 3)
During the Berlin banking scandal in 2001, the grand coalition of CDU and SPD under the governing mayor Eberhard Diepgen experienced severe turbulence. The SPD finally declared that due to the significant responsibility of CDU politicians such as parliamentary group leader Klaus Landowsky for this scandal it would leave the grand coalition and start coalition and tolerance negotiations with the Greens and the PDS. On June 16, 2001, Eberhard Diepgen and the CDU senators were voted out of office by the House of Representatives. The parliament then elected Klaus Wowereit as governing mayor of a coalition of the SPD and the Greens under PDS tolerance. The senatorial candidates proposed by Wowereit were also elected on the same day, so that the vote of no confidence retained its effectiveness.
The constitution of the state of Brandenburg of August 20, 1992, in its article 86, corresponds almost exactly with the wording ofGG:
- The state parliament can only express its mistrust in the Prime Minister by electing a successor with the majority of its members. (Paragraph 1)
The state constitution of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen of October 21, 1947 has a regulation similar to the Berlin constitution: Article 110 of the constitution initially provides for a destructive vote of no confidence, which only becomes legally effective if a new member of the Senate is elected for the one who has been voted out. Since the President of the Senate is elected by the Senate itself, there is no separate procedure for voting out the President of the Senate:
- The decision to withdraw trust is only made if the majority of the statutory number of members agrees. It becomes legally effective for senators when the citizenship has elected a new Senate or a new member of the Senate or passed a law by which the number of members is correspondingly reduced. Sentence 2 does not apply to the other members of the Senate. (Paragraph 3)
Before the constitution-amending law of February 1, 2000, this paragraph had a slightly different wording:
- The decision to withdraw trust is only made if the majority of the statutory number of members agrees. It becomes legally effective when the citizenry has elected a new Senate or a new member of the Senate or passed a law by which the number of members is reduced accordingly.
The change resulted from the enlargement of the Senate to include councils of state in addition to the actual senators.
The constitution of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg of June 6, 1952 contains in its article 35 the provisions on a constructive vote of no confidence. In contrast to the other city-states of Berlin and Bremen, it provides for the simultaneous deselection of the previous and the new election of the First Mayor . When the first mayor is voted out, the office of the other members of the Senate also ends . This regulation was newly introduced in 1996 and, in the 2001 version, was expressly expanded to include the female official titles (“First Mayor”, “Successor”).
The current version reads (insertions from 2001 in square brackets):
- The term of office [of the first mayor] also ends if the citizenry withdraws [her or] confidence by electing a successor with a majority of the legal number of members. (Paragraph 3 Sentence 1)
Until 1996, the citizenship was able to withdraw trust from both individual senators (including the two mayors) and the entire Senate.
- The citizenship can only withdraw its trust in the Senate or individual Senators by replacing the Senate or individual Senators with new elections with the majority of their statutory membership. (Paragraph 2 Clause 1 old version)
Up until this constitutional amendment, however, the senators were also elected individually by the citizens to the Senate, which in turn determined the First Mayor among themselves. The term of office of the other senators also did not end with the term of office of the First Mayor.
The constitution of the state of Hesse of December 1, 1946 does not include a constructive vote of no confidence. If the majority of the members of the state parliament withdraw confidence in the prime minister or if the question of confidence is not answered positively, the state government must resign (Art. 114). If a new Prime Minister is not elected within twelve days and confidence is expressed in his government, the Landtag is dissolved.
- The State Parliament can withdraw its trust in the Prime Minister by express resolution or refuse it by rejecting a motion for trust. (Paragraph 1)
- The vote of confidence must be taken by name. A resolution of the state parliament that is unfavorable for the Prime Minister requires the approval of more than half of the legal number of its members.
- If such a resolution is reached, the Prime Minister must resign.
- If the state parliament does not express its confidence in a new government within twelve days, it is dissolved. (Paragraphs 3 to 5)
The constitution of the state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania of May 23, 1993 recognizes the constructive vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister's version of the Basic Law. The corresponding regulations are laid down in Article 50 of the Constitution:
- The office of the Prime Minister ends when the state parliament withdraws its trust. The state parliament can only withdraw trust by electing a successor with a majority of its members. (Paragraph 2)
The Lower Saxony constitution of May 19, 1993 contains in its Art. 32 a provision corresponding to the Basic Law for a constructive vote of no confidence, the very long period of three weeks between application and vote is particularly important:
- (1) The State Parliament can withdraw confidence in the Prime Minister.
- (2) The application can only be made by at least one third of the members of the Landtag. The application may be voted on no earlier than 21 days after the end of the meeting.
- (3) The trust can only be withdrawn if the Landtag elects a successor with a majority of its members.
In 1988 a vote of no confidence by Gerhard Schröder against Prime Minister Ernst Albrecht failed . According to Art. Of the Provisional Lower Saxony Constitution of April 13, 1951, this vote of no confidence could only be a constructive one. The relevant paragraph 3 read:
- The trust can only be withdrawn if the state parliament elects a successor with a majority of the members.
The constitution for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia of June 28, 1950, in its Article 61, almost exactly adopted the wording of the Basic Law and thus also contains a constructive vote of no confidence:
- The state parliament can only express its mistrust in the Prime Minister by electing a successor with a majority of the votes cast. (Paragraph 1)
On February 20, 1956, the state parliament declared Prime Minister Karl Arnold , who had previously led a coalition of CDU , FDP and the center , the distrust and elected Fritz Steinhoff as prime minister of a coalition of the SPD , FDP and center. Federal political reasons are primarily responsible for the change in coalition: Since the CDU was toying with the introduction of majority voting, which would have brought the FDP to the brink of its existence, the FDP and its chairman Thomas Dehler ensured that the federal government now lost its majority in the Bundesrat . The crisis led to the split of the FDP into the larger part loyal to Dehler, which ultimately survived politically, and the FVP , which was only granted a short existence.
On December 8, 1966, Prime Minister Franz Meyers , who had headed a CDU-FDP coalition, was replaced by an SPD-FDP coalition led by Heinz Kühn . The state elections in July 1966 resulted in a narrow 101:99 majority for the CDU and FDP over the SPD: Meyers was thus initially able to continue his coalition. After the formation of the grand coalition at federal level with the election of Kurt Georg Kiesinger as Federal Chancellor on December 1, 1966 - as in Baden-Württemberg - a change from a black and yellow to a grand coalition was sought. The SPD parliamentary group rejected such a change, however, whereupon the party leadership started coalition negotiations with the FDP, which led to a successful constructive vote of no confidence.
The constitution for Rhineland-Palatinate of May 18, 1947 has a similar procedure to the Hessian constitution, which was created a little earlier: According to Article 99, the state parliament can withdraw confidence in the prime minister, the state government or a minister. If the state parliament has withdrawn its confidence in the entire state government, it must express its confidence in a new government within four weeks, otherwise it is dissolved. Art. 99 was changed in 1991 insofar as the Prime Minister's confidence could not be withdrawn beforehand; this was only possible with the state government as a whole or with a minister. The relevant provisions of Art. 99 are now:
- The prime minister, the state government and the ministers require the confidence of the state parliament in order to exercise their office.
- They have to resign if the state parliament withdraws their trust with a majority of the statutory number of members. (Paragraphs 1 and 2)
- If the state parliament does not express confidence in a new government within 4 weeks after the decision to withdraw its trust in the state government, it is dissolved. (Paragraph 5)
Prior to 1991, Paragraph 1 was:
- The state government and the ministers require the confidence of the state parliament in order to exercise their office.
So far, four votes of no confidence have been carried out, all of which have failed: in 1949 and 1952 against Prime Minister Peter Altmeier ( CDU ), on August 30, 2012 against Kurt Beck ( SPD ) and on July 14, 2016 against Malu Dreyer ( SPD ).
The Saarland constitution of December 15, 1947 includes both a vote of confidence and a vote of no confidence. If the state government's trust is withdrawn, the state parliament must enable “the formation of a state government based on its trust” within four weeks, otherwise it is dissolved. This provision can be found in Art. 69 (until 1979: Art. 71) of the Constitution.
Article 69 reads today:
- The state parliament is dissolved if it decides to do so with a majority of two thirds of its members or if it has withdrawn its trust in the state government and does not enable the formation of a state government based on its trust within four weeks.
Until 1979 the corresponding Art. 71 Para. 2 read:
- The dissolution must be carried out by the President of the Landtag if the Landtag has withdrawn its confidence in the Land Government by resolution and does not enable the formation of a government supported by its confidence within four weeks.
The withdrawal of confidence itself is regulated by Article 88 (until 1979: Article 90) of the Constitution. Today it reads:
- (1) The members of the state government require the confidence of the state parliament in order to exercise their office. They leave their office if the state parliament withdraws their trust.
- (2) Trust can be withdrawn by rejecting the application to express trust (question of trust) or by expressly declaring mistrust (vote of no confidence). The decision to withdraw trust requires a majority of the statutory number of members of the state parliament. (Paragraphs 1 and 2, sentences 1 and 3)
In 2001 the words “The members of the state government” replaced the words “The Prime Minister and the Ministers” in Paragraph 1.
Art. 90 para. 1 sentences 1 and 2 read before 1979:
- The Prime Minister and the Ministers require the confidence of the Landtag to exercise their office. They have to resign if the state parliament withdraws their trust with a majority of the statutory number of members.
Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt
The constitution of the Free State of Saxony of May 27, 1992 and the constitution of the State of Saxony-Anhalt of July 16, 1992 contain - like the constitutions of the other federal states that joined the Federal Republic in 1990 - almost identical words to the provision ofBasic Law: Here, too The head of government, the prime minister, has lost confidence in the fact that a new prime minister is elected at the same time. In Saxony this results from Article 69, in Saxony-Anhalt from Article 72 of the constitution:
- The state parliament can only withdraw confidence in the Prime Minister by electing a successor with a majority of its members. (Constitution of the Free State of Saxony, Art. 69 Paragraph 1)
- The state parliament can only express its mistrust in the Prime Minister by electing a successor with a majority of its members. (Constitution of the State of Saxony-Anhalt, Art. 72 Paragraph 1)
The apparent difference that in one case the trust is withdrawn and in the other the mistrust is expressed has no consequences because of the identity of the effects of the two constitutional provisions.
The constitution of the state of Schleswig-Holstein of December 13, 1949 in the version of the law amending the state statutes for Schleswig-Holstein of June 13, 1990 includes the constructive vote of no confidence in the form of the Basic Law (Art. 42):
- The state parliament can only express mistrust in the Prime Minister by electing a successor with a majority of its members.
The constitution of the Free State of Thuringia of October 25, 1993 contains in its article 73 a clause corresponding to the formulation of the Basic Law for the constructive vote of no confidence:
- The state parliament can only express its mistrust in the Prime Minister by electing a successor with a majority of its members. (Sentence 1)
Regulations in other countries
In Austria, according to Federal Constitutional Law (B-VG), a destructive vote of no confidence can be exercised against the federal government as a whole or against individual members of the government (similar to the Weimar Republic). The vote is binding for the Federal President . On May 27, 2019, as a result of the Ibiza affair, the first successful vote of no confidence against a federal government was enforced in the vote on the 186th motion of no confidence since 1945.the
The Swiss Federal Constitution does not provide for a parliamentary vote of no confidence against individual members of the government or against the entire government. The United Federal Assembly elects the Federal Council firmly for the duration of the four-year legislative period. The only possibility is not to be re-elected, which has so far been extremely rare and only happened to Ulrich Ochsenbein in 1854, Jean-Jacques Challet-Venel in 1872, Ruth Metzler in 2003 and Christoph Blocher in 2007.
At canton level, there is only a vote of no confidence in the Jura .
In the fifth French republic , a vote of confidence and a vote of no confidence in the prime minister are envisaged by the national assembly . Thus the Constitution of the Fifth French Republic provides in Title V ("On Relations between Parliament and the Government"):
- Art. 50
- Lorsque l'Assemblée Nationale adopte une motion de censure ou lorsqu'elle désapprouve le program ou une déclaration de politique générale du Gouvernement, le Premier Ministre doit remettre au Président de la République la démission du Gouvernement.
The House of Commons can withdraw support from the Prime Minister by passing a vote of no confidence. The House of Commons can also indicate the lack of support by letting the government fail on a vote of confidence . Many other resolutions can also be interpreted as a question of the confidence of the House of Commons in the government. For example, important legislative proposals that are part of the government program or the annual state budget. If these fail, it can be assumed that the government no longer has the necessary support in the lower house. Traditionally, a prime minister was then forced to either resign from office or to ask the monarch to dissolve parliament. The dissolution then leads to early general elections.
The Spanish constitution of 1978 , influenced by the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany , also provides for a constructive vote of no confidence. However, the Prime Minister is formally not elected by the Congress, the second chamber of parliament, but is appointed by the King after the Congress has expressed its confidence in the candidate. Therefore, the vote of no confidence here takes the form of a proposal of a successor to be compulsorily linked to the motion of censure, to whom the king is bound if the motion is accepted by the Congress.
- Art. 113
- (1) Congress can hold the government politically accountable by passing a motion of no confidence with an absolute majority.
- (2) The motion of censure must be signed by at least one tenth of the MPs and propose a candidate for the office of Prime Minister.
- Art. 114
- (2) If Congress accepts a motion of censure, the government will submit its resignation to the King. From this point on, the candidate proposed in the motion of censure has the confidence of the Chamber on all points set out in Article 99. The king appoints him prime minister.
In the United States of America there have already been votes of no confidence in Congress , including against individual members of the government. In presidential systems of government, however, they have no legally binding effect and it is up to the president to decide whether to accept the vote or to oppose it. There is, however, the possibility of impeachment proceedings against the president, but this only goes against criminal behavior, not against the president's policy.
Heads of government toppled by votes of no confidence
- Sir John Macdonald (1873)
- Arthur Meighen (1926)
- John George Diefenbaker (1963)
- Pierre Trudeau (1974)
- Joe Clark (1979)
- Helmut Schmidt (1982)
- Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1999)
- Shigeru Yoshida (1948 / election 1949 , successor: Shigeru Yoshida)
- Shigeru Yoshida ( 1953 , successor: Shigeru Yoshida)
- Masayoshi Ōhira ( 1980 , death from exhaustion during an election campaign, successor: Zenkō Suzuki )
- Kiichi Miyazawa ( 1993 , successor: Morihiro Hosokawa )
- Pedro Passos Coelho (2015)
- Sebastian Kurz (2019)
- Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (2019)
- Iveta Radičová (2011)
- Janez Janša (2013)
- Mariano Rajoy (2018)
- Mirek Topolánek (2009)
- Gerhard Schröder : For or against the constructive vote of no confidence. In: Bonner Hefte. Volume 1, 1953, pp. 22-26.
- Milutin Michael Nickl: On the rhetoric of parliamentary votes of no confidence in the German Reichstag 1931/32 and the Bundestag 1972. A linguistic analysis of linguistic-public communication (= Tuduv studies: Linguistic and literary studies. Volume 4). Munich 1976, ISBN 3-88073-015-6 .
- Klaus Stern : The constitutional law of the Federal Republic of Germany. Volume 2: State organs, state functions, financial and budgetary constitution, emergency constitution. Beck, Munich 1980, ISBN 3-406-07018-3 .
- Lutz Berthold: The constructive vote of no confidence and its origins in Weimar constitutional law. In: The State . Volume 36, 1997, p. 81ff.
- Friedrich Karl Fromme : From the Weimar Constitution to the Bonn Basic Law - The Constitutional Consequences of the Parliamentary Council from the Weimar Republic and the National Socialist dictatorship. 3. Edition. Duncker and Humblot, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-428-09992-3 .
- Wolfgang Rudzio : The political system of the Federal Republic of Germany. 6th edition. UTB, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-8252-1280-7 .
- BVerfGE 62, 1 - Judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court on the question of confidence, in which it comments on the legitimacy of the constructive vote of no confidence
- On the Weimar regulation and discussion see Lutz Berthold: The constructive vote of no confidence and its origins in the Weimar constitutional theory. In: The State . Volume 36, 1997, p. 81ff. General to the Weimar Constitution Christoph Gusy : The Weimar Imperial Constitution. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 1997, ISBN 3-16-146818-X .
- Carl Schmitt: Verfassungslehre. 1928, p. 345.
- Gerhard Anschütz, p. 103.
- Ernst Fraenkel: Constitutional reform. 1932.
- BVerfG, judgment of February 16, 1983, Az. 2 BvE 1/83, BVerfGE 62, 1 - Bundestag resolution I.
- BVerfGE 62, 1 para. 159.
- BVerfGE 114, 121 - Bundestag resolution III.
- See the memoirs by Rainer Barzel: The door stayed open. My personal report on the Eastern Treaty, a vote of no confidence, the overthrow of the Chancellor. Bouvier, Bonn 1998, ISBN 3-416-02836-8 .
- BStU : The German Bundestag 1949 to 1989 in the files of the Ministry for State Security (MfS) of the GDR. Report to the German Bundestag in accordance with Section 37 (3) of the Stasi Records Act, Berlin 2013, p. 267. ( PDF ( Memento from November 8, 2013 in the Internet Archive )); Daniela Münkel : Campaigns, spies, secret channels. The Stasi and Willy Brandt (= BF informed. No. 32/2013). Online publication of the Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the former German Democratic Republic - Department of Education and Research, Berlin, November 2013, p. 55 (Münkel quotes Honecker after the BStU report, but erroneously without the word “all”).
- Daniela Münkel: campaigns, spies, secret channels. The Stasi and Willy Brandt , p. 50.
- Brigitte Seebacher: Willy Brandt. Piper, Munich 2006, p. 229.
- Andreas Grau: In Search of the Missing Votes 1972. On the aftermath of the failed vote of no confidence Barzel / Brandt (= Historisch-Politische Mitteilungen. No. 16). Böhlau, Cologne 2009, p. 16 f. PDF ; BStU: The German Bundestag 1949 to 1989 in the files of the Ministry for State Security (MfS) of the GDR. Report to the German Bundestag in accordance with Section 37 (3) of the Stasi Records Act. Berlin 2013, p. 265ff. ( PDF ( Memento of November 8, 2013 in the Internet Archive )).
- Joachim Scholtyseck , The FDP in the turn , Historisch-Politische Mitteilungen. Volume 19, Issue 1, January 2013, pp. 197-220, especially pp. 201 f. ( PDF ).
- Giovanni di Lorenzo , Helmut Schmidt: Do you understand that, Mr. Schmidt - questions to the former chancellor , in: Zeit Magazin, No. 28 of July 8, 2010, p. 36
- Minutes of the state parliament session of February 20, 1956 (PDF)
- Der Spiegel NORTH RHINE-WESTPHALIA: Should it come from December 5, 1966.
- Bernhard Gaul, Wolfgang Zaunbauer: So plunged red and blue, the government short- Courier, May 27, 2019
- Leila Al-Serori : Does Austria's Chancellor Have to Go? , Süddeutsche Zeitung, May 21, 2019