Sun, May. 22, 2005

Elections Just Like That

CK - Washington.   After an electoral loss of his party in the state of North-Rhine-Westphalia, Chancellor Schröder would like to disband the federal diet in Berlin and hold federal elections in the fall. In the regular cycle, such elections would be scheduled for the fall of 2005.

After the failure of the Weimar Republic with its weak constitution that permissively triggered reconfigurations of the government at the drop of a hat, the German constitution now permits only a constructive vote of no confidence and provides in Art. 68 that the Chancellor may disband the diet only with the consent of the president and only in the event that the majorities in the diet render the management of the government unworkable.

The hot debate on whether the requirements have been met by a state election that does not affect the federal diet has already begun. On February 16, 1983, the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe ruled on this issue in the matter BVerGE 62,1 when it expressed grave concerns with willy-nilly calls for federal elections.

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