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A veto ( Latin veto “I forbid”) is the filing of an objection that occurs within a formally defined framework and can thus postpone or completely block decisions.

Contrary to popular belief, the term was not yet in use among the Romans; the Latin term for it was intercessio ("intervening") and was a legal consequence of the ius intercedendi , which was available to officials as a legal remedy in the magistrate .

The term comes from the Polish constitution of the 17th / 18th centuries. Century, when in the Sejm , the parliament, every single member of the parliament could repeal resolutions of the Sejm with the liberum veto ("free veto").

As a rule, the right of veto gives a minority the opportunity to end a procedure or to prevent a law or a decision against the will of a majority .

There are two types of veto, depending on the length of the delay achieved:

  • suspensive veto (also suspensive veto)
Such a veto loses its effect if the same or a newly elected parliament repeats the original resolution, possibly with a qualified majority , or only postpones the entry into force of the law.
  • absolute veto
whereby a decision is finally prevented.


The (usually suspensive) right of veto is one of the prerogatives of many heads of state :

  • the King of France owned it under the 1791 Constitution
  • also the president of the United States can against him unpopular decisions of the Congress a veto insert, which can be offset by a two-thirds vote of both Houses of Congress, after the law comes into force immediately. The Polish and Czech presidents have the same rights.
  • the governors of the US states also have a right of veto. Almost all governors also have the option of exercising a line item veto, which the President cannot do at federal level. This makes it possible to object to individual passages in bills only (see line item veto ). The state parliaments can reject vetoes by the governor, usually with a two-thirds majority.
  • the Prince of Liechtenstein has the absolute right to veto parliamentary resolutions and popular resolutions.

In the Security Council of the United Nations who have five permanent members (the People's Republic of China , the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland , the French Republic , the Russian Federation and the United States ) an absolute veto.

In Germany, the Bundesrat can veto any law passed by the German Bundestag . In the case of some laws, this veto can be overruled by the Bundestag; this is known as a suspensive veto ( objection law ), whereas a law requiring approval has an absolute right of veto. The Federal President of the Federal Republic of Germany occupies a special position: he is not explicitly given a veto right by the constitution, but can refuse to sign a law that he has objected to. Since a law can only become legally valid after it has been signed by the Federal President or his deputy, the Federal President has at least a similar competence to the veto. For details and consequences see Federal President (Germany) .

Another form of veto right is the right of the people, enshrined in Swiss constitutional law, to subsequently force a referendum against decisions made by the authorities , which can revoke the decision in question ( see referendum ). This is why this institution was also called the “people's veto” when it was first introduced in the 19th century.

The Austrian Federal Council only has a suspensive veto on most matters , which the National Council can override by means of a persistent resolution . Only in some matters, e.g. B. if the Federal Council's rights are to be changed, it has an absolute veto (also: right of consent ). A veto right of the Federal President is controversial, see Federal President (Austria) .

Everyone involved in a unanimous body has a de facto veto position. For example, military operations by NATO or within the framework of the European Union in the European Council can be prevented by a single vote against. In the Sejm , the Polish parliament, there was the so-called Liberum Veto , in which every single nobleman had a right of veto, which effectively brought the Sejm to a standstill, since every unpleasant decision could be overturned by a single MP.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Veto  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations