Friday, July 01, 2005

A Confidence Trick

From the Strange-but-true department. The BBC reports on the German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's attempt to deliberately lose a confidence vote so that he can call early elections. Part of the attempt involved convincing his deputies and MPs to vote against his government, a task that he eventually succeeded at. Schroeder's motivations seem relatively above-board. His party is rather unpopular in Germany at the moment and is a long shot to return to power. Two-thirds of the country does want early elections, according to opinion polls. And finally, Schroeder claims he needs a fresh mandate in order to push through controversial reforms.

Nevertheless, deliberately losing a confidence vote seems to be out there in terms of strategies open to him. Wouldn't a mere resignation work? At worst, shouldn't he have been introducing a motion of "No Confidence" instead of one of "Confidence", since it seems clear that he himself had lost faith in his government?

1 Comments:

Blogger Rajagopal said...

Some of these countries have a no-confidence vote against the Chancellor or PM, as the case may be, rather than against the government as such. This is to avoid frequent elections I guess. This was one of the methods considered by the Constitutional Review Committee set up by BJP Govt. some years back (2000, 50th anniversary of adoption of constitution IIRC). It didn't move anywhere.

As you say, it does seem out there in terms of strategy. It is like (not much, but a little) a bad NBA or NFL team losing games towards the end of the season to get a better draft position.

7/01/2005 10:34 PM  

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