Tag Archives: government formation

Government formation German edition

merkelThey’re still at it 4 months after the election in September of last year. As posted before this should be the process of Government formation. Substitute the appropriate German office or body, Bundestag / House of Commons, President / Speaker, Chancellor / Prime Minster, Federal President / Governor-General.

  • The fourth Monday after the election Parliament reconvenes.
  • In the morning the members are sworn in and the election of the Speaker is done.
  • In the afternoon the Speaker asks the House their recommend for appointment as Prime Minister “Who should the Governor-General call upon to form a government” ? The longest serving member of the largest party stands up and nominates the leader of their party. Then the most senior member of the second largest party does the same, then the third, and so forth. Lastly all the independent members are asked in order of their seniority in the House.
  • All the nominated members are asked if they would accept appointment. If more then 4 say yes then the House votes.
  • The Speaker puts the question “Who does this House have confidence in to serve as Prime Minister” ? It’s an open vote and the one with the least votes is eliminated plus any others who wish to withdraw. If there is still more then 4 nominees a second vote is held and the process done again. The voting stops when there is 4 or less nominees for Prime Minister.
  • On Tuesday the Prime Minister-designates are invited to Government House and asked by the Governor-General to form a government consisting of say 16 to 20 members.
  • On Thursday the House is back in session with the Speaker putting to the House the question “Which of these government-designates has the confidence of this House” ? Assuming 4 councils the council-designate with the least votes is eliminated and a second vote is held. The third placed council-designate is eliminated and the top two go to a third and last ballot. The winner becomes the Council of Ministers and the runner up the Council of Opposition.
  • On Friday in the House the Speaker swears in the third and fourth placed councils as Shadow councils in the House. This is done only if they can get 17 votes on the last ballot their on (5% of 338 members).
  • On Sunday at Rideau Hall the Governor-General first swears in the second placed council as the Council of Opposition and then the winner as the Council of Ministers.

In the event there is a Party with a majority and the second largest Party can’t be out voted by the remaining members then the process becomes a formality since the result of all votes is known. After the last Federal election the House would have nominated Justin Trudeau, Rona Ambrose, and Thomas Mulcair as Prime Minister-Designates. They each would have submitted council-designates to a confidence vote in the House of Commons.

On the first ballot the Liberals would have a majority and the Conservatives in second place with the NDP in third. Friday the swearing in by the Speaker in the House of the NDP shadow council. On Sunday the swearing in by the Governor-General the Conservatives as the Council of Opposition and then the Liberals as the Council of Ministers.


Custom and Precedence

commonsfloor At the start of each Parliament the Speaker after the members of the House of Commons are sworn in asks “who should the Governor-General call upon to form a government”? The four most endorsed candidates are invited to Rideau Hall and asked to form a council-designate, a government-in-waiting. After each leader who accepts forms a proposed government of say 16 to 20 members the Speaker puts the question to the House “which of these councils-designate has the confidence of this House”? The two with the least are dropped from the second ballot. The Commons votes a second time with the winner becoming the Council of Ministers and the loser the Council of Opposition. No vote in the House triggers an election only an absolute 2/3 majority (226 out of 338) passing a motion of dissolution can trigger an election before the set election day. No vote can replace the current government with another. The Council of Ministers is the government for the duration of that Parliament. Any individual minister can be dismissed by a 60% vote of the House. If it’s the Prime Minister then an absolute 60% majority (203).

Quebec Election

The big day is here. It’s Quebec’s general election for 2012. Me and my neighbor got to our polling station about five minutes before it opened. Already about a dozen people were there and more were coming as we went in. So hopefully we will have a good voter turnout for this election. Here is an alternate process for the determination of the formation of a government.

Custom and precedence

After each General election you would have the following sequence of events. The fourth Monday after each election you would have the swearing in of the elected members of the National Assembly. That Tuesday the Assembly would elect it’s Speaker. On Wednesday the Speaker would ask the Assembly on whom the lieutenant governor should ask to form the Government. On Thursday the top four candidates are asked to form a government by the lieutenant governor subject to the approval of the National Assembly. On Friday morning the Speaker puts to the National Assembly the question which of these Councils has the confidence of the Assembly to form the government of the province of Québec? The National Assembly then votes. The Speaker then swears in the third and fourth place councils as alternate Councils in the Assembly. Friday afternoon the National Assembly votes a second time on the two remaining councils. The winner becomes the government and the loser becomes the official opposition. The following Sunday the losing Council is sworn in as the Council of Opposition and the winning Council as the Council of Ministers for the government of Québec.

This process starts 28 days after each election and ends 34 days after the election with the swearing in of the Opposition and Quebec’s Government. For this General election the process would begin on Monday, October 1 with the swearing in on Sunday, October 7. Of course the negotiations leading up to Swearing In week would already settle the make-up of the Council-designates and almost certainly the outcome of the vote of confidence in the National Assembly.