Government Formation

369px-Oireachtas_logo.svgIrish General Election February 26, 2016

On the fourth Monday after the election which in this case would be Monday March the 22nd you would have the swearing in of the Teachta Dála (members) and after that the election of the Ceann Comhairle (Speaker). On Tuesday the Speaker asks the members for nominees for Taoiseach (Prime Minister). You would need 5% of the Dail Eireann (House of Representatives) to endorse the nomination which is 8 members out of the 158. If you have more then 4 nominees the members are asked to endorse one with the top 4 with the most votes becoming a Taoiseach-designate. On Tuesday afternoon the President of Ireland invites these Taoiseach-designates to form a Council of Ministers of the required 7 to 15 members. They submit their Councils-designate to the President Wednesday morning and the President refers it to the Dail Eireann to decide which has it’s confidence to be the Government for the duration of that Oireachtas (Parliament). Wednesday afternoon the Dail Eireann votes on which of these councils becomes the government for that Oireachtas. Winner to be sworn in as the Council of Minsters the following Sunday and the runner up as the Council of Opposition just before the swearing in of the government. Any others become shadow councils in the Dail Eireann.

The process of government formation is a set procedure and the Party Leaders would have been in negotiations right after the election for support to win the vote to form the government in the new Parliament. Fine Gael and Fianna Fail could form a grand coalition government and have just with their 2 parties 99 seats out of 158. They could each form a council-designate alone and negotiate for the support of the other parties and from the 19 independents. If Sinn Fein doesn’t enter into a coalition council with the 2 main parties it could form it’s own council and be a shadow council in the next Parliament with or without voting one of the others in as the government. There is enough members for the 5 minor parties to come together to present another council choice and it also would become a shadow council in Parliament with or without voting Fine Gael or Fianna Fail in as the government.

Once a Government is elected by the House it stays in office for the duration of that Parliament. Any Minister can be voted out by a motion of dismissal with a 60% vote with quorum. The Prime Minister can be dismissed by an absolute 60% vote (95). Confidence and Non-confidence votes are abolished. A motion of government dismissal requires an absolute two-third majority vote (106). This triggers a new vote of government formation the same as at the start of Parliament. A motion of dissolution requires an absolute three-quarters majority vote (119). This will set a new election for parliament.

Using the government formation process for the Canadian federal election in October 2015.

The House meets the fourth Monday after the election. In the morning the swearing in of the members and in the afternoon the election of the Speaker of the House the Commons. The next day the House would have nominated Justin Trudeau, Rona Ambrose, and Thomas Mulcair as Prime Minister designates. No other candidates would have gotten the 17 endorsing votes necessary to get nominated. The Governor-General would have asked these 3 leaders to form a Government. In the government formation vote in the House the Liberal council would have won a majority on the first ballot with 184 votes, the Tories would be second with 99 votes, and the NDP third with 44 votes. The 11 votes held by the Bloc and Greens can’t change the result. The Liberal council gets sworn in as the Council of Ministers, the Conservatives as the Council of Opposition, and the NDP becomes a shadow council in the House of Commons.

Instead of the rigidity of a majority government or the instability of a minority government you have the Government elected at the start of Parliament and serving for the duration of that Parliament unless by super majorities the House votes to either have another Government formation vote or set another election.


One response to “Government Formation

  1. Pingback: Irish Government | The Federalist party of Canada

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