In political science, a constitutional crisis is a problem or conflict in the function of a government that the political constitution or other fundamental governing law is perceived to be unable to resolve. There are several variations to this definition. For instance, one describes it as the crisis that arises out of the failure, or at least a strong risk of failure, of a constitution to perform its central functions.The crisis may arise from a variety of possible causes. For example, a government may want to pass a law contrary to its constitution; the constitution may fail to provide a clear answer for a specific situation; the constitution may be clear but it may be politically infeasible to follow it; the government institutions themselves may falter or fail to live up to what the law prescribes them to be; or officials in the government may justify avoiding dealing with a serious problem based on narrow interpretations of the law. Specific examples include the South African Coloured vote constitutional crisis in the 1950s, the secession of the southern U.S. states in 1860 and 1861, the controversial dismissal of the Australian federal government in 1975 and the 2007 Ukrainian crisis. While the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland does not have a written constitution, it is deemed to have an unwritten one, and issues and crises in the UK and its constituent countries are described as constitutional crises.
Constitutional crises may arise from conflicts between different branches of government, conflicts between central and local governments, or simply conflicts among various factions within society. In the course of government, the crisis results when one or more of the parties to a political dispute willfully chooses to violate a law of the constitution; or to flout an unwritten constitutional convention; or to dispute the correct, legal interpretation of the violated constitutional law or of the flouted political custom. This was demonstrated by the so-called XYZ Affair, which involved the bribery of French officials by a contingent of American commissioners who were sent to preserve peace between France and the United States.The incident was published in the American press and created a foreign policy crisis, which precipitated the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts. Opposition to these acts in the form of the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions cited that they violated freedom of speech and exhorted states to refuse their enforcement since they violated the Constitution.
When the crisis arises because the constitution is legally ambiguous, the ultimate resolution usually establishes the legal precedent to resolve future crises of constitutional administration. Such was the case in the United States presidential succession of John Tyler, which established that a successor to the presidency assumes the office without any limitation. Politically, a constitutional crisis can lead to administrative paralysis and eventual collapse of the government, the loss of political legitimacy, or to civil war. A constitutional crisis is distinct from a rebellion, which occurs when political factions outside a government challenge the government's sovereignty, as in a coup d'état or a revolution led by the military or by civilians.
This covers the Kingdom of Scotland, which became part of the Kingdom of Great Britain after 1707. For constitutional crises since then, see United Kingdom below.
While the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland does not have a written constitution, it is deemed to have an unwritten one, and issues and crises in the UK and its constituent countries are described as constitutional crises.
The politics of Bulgaria take place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime minister is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
The politics of Ukraine take place in a framework of a semi-presidential representative democratic republic and of a multi-party system. A Cabinet of Ministers exercises executive power. Legislative power is vested in Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada.
The Government of Poland takes place in the framework of a unitary parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the President is the head of state and the Prime Minister is the head of government. However, its form of government has also been identified as semi-presidential.
In a parliamentary or semi-presidential system of government, a reserve power is a power that may be exercised by the head of state without the approval of another branch or part of the government. Unlike in a presidential system of government, the head of state is generally constrained by the cabinet or the legislature in a parliamentary system, and most reserve powers are usable only in certain exceptional circumstances. In some countries, reserve powers go by another name; for instance, the reserve powers of the President of Ireland are called discretionary powers.
A motion of no confidence is a statement or vote about whether a person in a position of responsibility is still deemed fit to hold that position, such as because they are inadequate in some aspect, fail to carry out their obligations, or make decisions that other members feel to be detrimental. The parliamentary motion demonstrates to the head of state that the elected Parliament either has or no longer has confidence in one or more members of the appointed government. In some countries, a no-confidence motion being passed against an individual minister requires the minister to resign. In most cases, if the minister in question is the premier, all other ministers must also resign.
A semi-presidential republic, or dual executive republic, is a republic in which a president exists alongside a prime minister and a cabinet, with the latter two being responsible to the legislature of the state. It differs from a parliamentary republic in that it has a popularly elected head of state who is more than a ceremonial figurehead, and from the presidential system in that the cabinet, although named by the president, is responsible to the legislature, which may force the cabinet to resign through a motion of no confidence.
A constitutional convention is an informal and uncodified tradition that is followed by the institutions of a state. In some states, notably those Commonwealth of Nations states that follow the Westminster system and whose political systems derive from British constitutional law, most government functions are guided by constitutional convention rather than by a formal written constitution. In these states, actual distribution of power may be markedly different from those the formal constitutional documents describe. In particular, the formal constitution often confers wide discretionary powers on the head of state that, in practice, are used only on the advice of the head of government, and in some cases not at all.
The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan allowed the President to unilaterally dissolve the National Assembly and elected governments. The National Assembly of Pakistan amended the Constitution of Pakistan in 1985 and the law stayed on the books until its repeal in 1997.
The prime minister of Pakistan is the constitutional head of government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, designated as the "Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic".
A snap election is an election that is called earlier than the one that has been scheduled.
The president of Portugal, officially the president of the Portuguese Republic, is the head of state and highest office of Portugal.
''TheThirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan was a short-lived amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan, adopted by the Parliament of Pakistan in 1997 by the civilian government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. It stripped the President of Pakistan of his reserve power to dissolve the National Assembly, and thereby triggering new elections and dismissing the Prime Minister. The Constitutional Amendment was supported by both the government and the opposition, and was thus passed unanimously. With the enforcing of this amendment, Pakistan's system of government was shifted from Semi-presidential system to Parliamentary democratic republic system.
The dissolution of a legislative assembly is the mandatory simultaneous resignation of all of its members, in anticipation that a successive legislative assembly will reconvene later with possibly different members. In a democracy, the new assembly is chosen by a general election. Dissolution is distinct on the one hand from abolition of the assembly, and on the other hand from its adjournment or prorogation, or the ending of a legislative session, any of which begins a period of inactivity after which it is anticipated that the same members will reassemble. For example, the "second session of the fifth parliament" could be followed by the "third session of the fifth parliament" after a prorogation, but the "first session of the sixth parliament" after a dissolution.
The Constitution of Ukraine is the fundamental law of Ukraine. The constitution was adopted and ratified at the 5th session of the Verkhovna Rada, the parliament of Ukraine, on 28 June 1996. The constitution was passed with 315 ayes out of 450 votes possible. All other laws and other normative legal acts of Ukraine must conform to the constitution. The right to amend the constitution through a special legislative procedure is vested exclusively in the parliament. The only body that may interpret the constitution and determine whether legislation conforms to it is the Constitutional Court of Ukraine. Since 1996, the public holiday Constitution Day is celebrated on 28 June.
The prime minister of Tunisia is the head of the executive branch of the government of Tunisia. The prime minister directs the executive branch along with the president and, together with the prime minister's cabinet, is accountable to the Assembly of the Representatives of the People, to the prime minister's political party and, ultimately, to the electorate for the policies and actions of the executive and the legislature.
The 16 May 1877 crisis was a constitutional crisis in the French Third Republic concerning the distribution of power between the president and the legislature. When the royalist president Patrice MacMahon dismissed the Opportunist Republican prime minister Jules Simon, the parliament on 16 May 1877 refused to support the new government and was dissolved by the president. New elections resulted in the royalists increasing their seat totals, but nonetheless resulted in a majority for the Republicans. Thus, the interpretation of the 1875 Constitution as a parliamentary system prevailed over a presidential system. The crisis ultimately sealed the defeat of the royalist movement, and was instrumental in creating the conditions of the longevity of the Third Republic.
The political crisis in Ukraine lasted from April to June 2007 was part of political stand off between coalition and opposition factions of Verkhovna Rada that led to the unscheduled 2007 Ukrainian parliamentary election. It started on 2 April 2007 as a culmination of long lasting crisis and degradation of the parliamentary coalition when the President of Ukraine attempted to dissolve the parliament.
The Constitution of Uruguay is the supreme law of Uruguay. Its first version was written in 1830 and its last amendment was made in 2004.
The president of Armenia is the head of state and the guarantor of independence and territorial integrity of Armenia elected to a single seven-year term by the National Assembly of Armenia. Under Armenia's parliamentary system, the president is simply a figurehead and holds ceremonial duties, with most of the political power vested in the Parliament and prime minister.
In 2022, the Pakistani political crises began when the opposition submitted a no-confidence motion against Imran Khan, which was followed by a political crisis in the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab and a constitutional crisis. A no-confidence motion against the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan was also filed by the opposition parties in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly while the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) submitted a motion of no-confidence against their own Azad Kashmir prime minister.
Samoa has been thrown into a constitutional crisis