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.
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.
Moreover, if 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.
The politics of Cambodia are defined within the framework of a constitutional monarchy, in which the King serves as the head of state, and the prime minister is the head of government. The collapse of communism set in motion events that led to the withdrawal of the Vietnamese armed forces, which had established their presence in the country since the fall of the Khmer Rouge. The 1993 constitution, which is currently in force, was promulgated as a result of the 1991 Paris Peace Agreements, followed by elections organized under the aegis of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia. The constitution proclaims a liberal, multiparty democracy in which powers are devolved to the executive, the judiciary and the legislature. However, there is no effective opposition to the Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has been in power for over 35 years. His Cambodian People's Party won all 125 seats in the National Assembly in 2018 after the banning of opposition party CNRP. Furthermore, the governing charter declares Cambodia to be an "independent, sovereign, peaceful, permanently neutral and non-aligned State."
The prime minister of Canada is the head of government, chair of the Cabinet, and primary minister of the Crown. Canadian prime ministers are styled as The Right Honourable, a privilege maintained for life.
Romania's political framework is a semi-presidential representative democratic republic where the Prime Minister is the head of government while the President represents the country internationally, signs some decrees, approves laws promulgated by parliament and nominations as head of state. Romania has a multi-party system, with legislative power vested in the government and the two chambers of Parliament: the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. From 1948 until 1989, the communist rule political structure took place in the framework of a one-party socialist republic governed by the Romanian Communist Party as its only legal party.
The Westminster system is a parliamentary system of government—a series of procedures for operating a legislature—that was developed in England, which is now a constituent country within the United Kingdom. This term comes from the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the British Parliament. It is used, or was once used, in the national and subnational legislatures of most former British Empire colonies upon gaining self-government, beginning with the first of the Canadian provinces in 1848 and the six Australian colonies between 1855 and 1890. However, some former colonies have since adopted either the presidential system or a hybrid system as their form of government.
The politics of Fiji take place within the framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic. Fiji has a multiparty system with the Prime Minister of Fiji as head of government. The executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Parliament of Fiji. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
The politics of Barbados function within a framework of constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary government with strong democratic traditions; constitutional safeguards for nationals of Barbados include: freedom of speech, press, worship, movement, and association.
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 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.
The prime minister of Spain, officially the president of the Government of Spain, is the head of the government of Spain. The office was established in its current form by the Constitution of 1978 and originated in 1823 as a chairmanship of the extant Council of Ministers.
A motion of no confidence, or a vote of no confidence, or no confidence motion, is a statement or vote about whether a person in a position of responsibility is no longer deemed fit to hold that position, perhaps because they are inadequate in some aspect, are failing to carry out obligations, or are making decisions that other members feel detrimental. As a parliamentary motion, it demonstrates to the head of state that the elected parliament no longer has confidence in the appointed government. In some countries, if a no confidence motion is passed against an individual minister they have to resign along with the entire council of ministers.
A constitutional convention is an informal and uncodified procedural agreement 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.
A snap election is an election that is called earlier than the one that has been scheduled.
Chapter 7: Executive Government.Chapter 7 of the 1997 Constitution is titled Executive Government. There are five Parts, further subdivided into thirty sections, which set out the organization, functions, and responsibilities of the executive branch of government. Modeled on the Westminster system, Fiji's constitution does not separate the Executive and Legislative branches of government as strictly as do many democracies, but despite considerable overlap, the branches of government are nevertheless constitutionally distinct.
In parliamentary and some semi-presidential systems, a dissolution of parliament is the dispersal of a legislature at the call of an election.
The Constitutional Act of the Kingdom of Denmark, or simply the Constitution, is the constitution of the Kingdom of Denmark, applying equally in Denmark proper, Greenland and the Faroe Islands. The first constitution was adopted in 1849, and the current constitution is from 1953. It is one of the oldest constitutions in the world. The Constitutional Act has been changed a few times. The wording is general enough to still apply today.
The Government of Georgia is the supreme body of executive power in Georgia that implements the domestic and foreign policies of the country. It consists of Prime Minister—the head of the government—and ministers and is accountable and responsible to the Parliament of Georgia. The current powers and responsibilities of the Government are governed by the amendments of the Constitution of Georgia passed in 2017 and 2018. From 14 May 1991 to 9 November 1996, the executive government of Georgia was referred to as the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Georgia.
The Government of the United Kingdom, formally referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is the central government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is also commonly referred to as simply the UK Government or the British Government.
The Estates of Sint Maarten consists of 15 members, each elected for a four-year term in a general election. The first Estates were installed on 10 October 2010, the date of the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles, and consisted of the members of the island council elected on 17 September 2010. The current President of Parliament is William Marlin.
2011–2012 Papua New Guinean constitutional crisis was a dispute between Sir Michael Somare and Peter O'Neill. Both claimed to be Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea.
A constitutional crisis began in Sri Lanka when President Maithripala Sirisena appointed former president and member of parliament Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister on 26 October 2018 before formally dismissing the incumbent Ranil Wickremesinghe, resulting in two concurrent Prime Ministers. Wickremesinghe and the United National Party (UNP) viewed the appointment as illegal, and he refused to resign.