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2011 | 5(106) | 81-100
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THE ORIGINS OF THE CONSTRUCTIVE VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE (Geneza konstruktywnego wotum nieufnosci)

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In the second half of the 1920s, the crisis of parliamentary democracy was almost universal. This was particularly evident in the Weimar Republic as a consequence of the lack of sufficient parliamentary tradition in Germany. This was often accompanied by a temptation of interpreting the principles of parliamentary system from the angle of the tradition of monarchical constitutionalism, extremely deeply rooted in German science. Therefore, when the problems with practical application of these principles appeared, they were interpreted as evidence of the failing of parliamentary system itself. The reinterpretation of the constitutionally defined basic concepts of parliamentary government was seen as a possible solution to overcome these problems, which, as a starting point, had to take the provisions regulating the appointment and dismissal of the government. Such interpretation was meant to loosen the ties between the government and the Reichstag, at the expense of its increased dependence of the President. In this context, an idea was proposed which, in its essence, preceded the concept of a constructive vote of no confidence. However, it did not find adequate acceptance to become a norm of conduct. Moreover, it did not received sufficient support for implementation in the form of a constitutional amendment. This second eventuality was unlikely due to, not only, a lack of political ability to implement any correction of the system of government by amending a constitution. The opportunities offered by the above-mentioned idea consisted, paradoxically, in interpreting the existing legal provisions rather than implementing a constitutional reform. This idea was, in fact, based on striving to free the government from destructive actions of parliamentary majority, but only at the cost of increased importance of the head of state. It was the president who was to assess whether the majority voting to express no confidence in the government is purely negative and is not able to form a new cabinet, or it can become a support for the future government. Even in their furthest reaching proposals, the authors do not dare to claim explicitly that the President should be bound by the viewpoint of the parliamentary majority which had submitted to him a motion of no confidence in the existing government together with a proposal to appoint its successor. The original meaning of the concept of the constructive vote of no confidence is not so much associated with the improvement of the government's relationship with Parliament, as with making the head of state a guarantor of the government's position in the face of unfavorable attitude on the part of the Chamber.
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  • M. Bozek, Uniwersytet Slaski, Wydzial Prawa i Administracji, ul. Bankowa 11b, 40-007 Katowice, Poland
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