If a parliament feels that the government, its leader or particular ministers are no longer doing their job well or properly, it can withdraw confidence in them. A majority
of parliamentarians can do this by supporting a so-called "vote of no confidence”. If this happens, the whole government or individual members have to step down. Not all countries allow votes of no confidence, only those with a parliamentary
system of government. In Germany, Article 67 of the constitution
(Grundgesetz) only provides for a so-called "constructive vote of no confidence”. In addition, confidence can only be withdrawn from the Chancellor
and not from individual ministers. If a majority in the lower house (Bundestag
) backs a vote of no confidence, the German President has to sack the Chancellor and thus the entire government. But why is this vote of no confidence called "constructive”? In Germany, it is not possible to simply vote someone out of office. A new Chancellor has to be elected at the same time, who then forms a new government. The voting out and the new election
occur during the same vote. This is to prevent there being a period between the two votes during which there is no government.
Gerd Schneider / Christiane Toyka-Seid