Giovanni Piccirilli

The Paradoxes of the Question of Confidence in the Context of a Majoritarian Electoral System

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Form of Government, Relationship of Confidence, Question of Confidence

In Italy, as a consequence of the incoherence caused by the coexistence of a constantly changing political system and an unmodified Constitution, the question of confidence has become a crucial tool. In particular, it acts as a substitute for other instruments (so far not introduced) that would strengthen the powers of the Government before Parliament. This flexibility of the relationship of confidence is due to the fact that it is not constitutionally disciplined and therefore it can be modified on the sole basis of the common practice of Parliament, i.e. without statutory intervention. However the author argues that the increased use of the question of confidence seems to be merely functional. In fact, a large number of innovations that were progressively introduced (eg. the reform of secreting vote and the introduction of instruments which are typical of executive democracies) should have been an alternative to the question of confidence. On the contrary, the frequent use of the question of confidence seems to be justified exclusively on the basis of its procedural benefits. The procedural fast track, typical of motions of confidence and of no confidence, has also been applied to the question of confidence. The results are paradoxical under more than one aspect. First of all, the question of confidence becomes nothing more than a way to obtain a faster and more efficient procedure (i.e. it is unrelated to the relationship of confidence). Second, the fact that the Parliamentary majority is forced to accept all Government proposals seems to demonstrate that the real institutional innovation of the majoritarian system is the disappearance of the... majority.

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