Motion of censure – What it is, definition and concept

The motion of censure is a procedure by which Parliament can remove the Government or any of its members from office.

Through a motion of censure it seeks to overthrow, either the entire Government, or some of its members. The reasons can be very diverse, there are none established. But due to what it means to remove the Executive Power, and the deliberation and voting that this entails, they are usually compelling reasons.

It is a process that exclusively affects the Government, not the Head of State. In parliamentary regimes, if it prospers, it affects the Executive Power as a whole. On the other hand, in presidential elections it affects the Council of Ministers, since the head of government can only be removed with the “impeachment”. Likewise, in semi-presidential cases it affects the Council of Ministers and its president, since the head of state is headed by another person.

It constitutes one of the different ways in which a government can end, together with the calling of early elections, the loss of the question of trust; death of the president; resignation; and the calling of new elections.

It should be noted that, because of its importance, the motion of censure is included in the constitution of the different countries. Establishing the requirements and details of the process.

The motion of censure in Spain

In Spain, as a parliamentary regime, the motion of censure serves to remove the Executive Power. And it affects the entire government. The procedure is set out in article 113 of the Constitution. It is called a constructive vote of no confidence, this means that when it is presented, it must be accompanied by another candidate. Who will be automatically invested in case of being approved.

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This article collects the following details:

  • The Congress of Deputies may request by an absolute majority the removal of the Government.
  • It must be presented, at least, by 10% of the Deputies, 35 or more specifically. And the new candidate must be detailed in it.
  • It cannot be voted on until five days have elapsed from its presentation. Alternative motions may be presented in the first two.
  • If the motion is not approved, another cannot be presented during the same period of sessions.

From 1980 to 2021, a total of five motions of no confidence have been approved. But only one of them has prospered.

  • May 1980: Felipe González filed it with President Adolfo Suárez. It had 152 votes in favor.
  • March 1987: It was Antonio Hernández, of the AP, who brought it against President Felipe González. He only had 67 votes in favor.
  • June 2017: Pablo Iglesias filed it with President Rajoy thirty years later. It was dismissed with only 82 votes in favor.
  • June 2018: Pedro Sánchez, president of the PSOE, filed it against the president of the government Mariano Rajoy. After many unknowns about his support, he finally prospered with 180 votes in favor. The reason was the sentence on the illegal financing of the PP. Thus, Pedro Sánchez became the president with the fewest seats in the history of democracy, with 84 deputies.
  • October 2020: On the occasion of the management of the coronavirus pandemic, Santiago Abascal presented it against President Sánchez. He only counted on the votes of his 52 deputies.
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Motion of no confidence in Peru

In Peru, the motion of censure is included in article 132 of the Constitution. It collects that it is carried out against the entire council of ministers or against any of them.

Its characteristics are as follows:

  • To present it, 25% of the legal number of congressmen is needed.
  • It is debated and voted on between the fourth and tenth calendar day after its presentation.
  • It is approved by an absolute majority.
  • The President of the Republic will accept the resignation of the censured within the following seventy-two hours.

In Peru, numerous motions of censure have been carried out. Since the approval of its last constitution in 1993, three motions have been successful against:

  • Interior Minister Fernando Rospigliosi in 2004.
  • The president of the Council of Ministers Ana Jara in 2015.
  • The Minister of Education, Jaime Saavedra in 2016.

Motion of censure in Colombia

Colombia includes the existence of the motion of censure in article 135 of the Constitution, which includes the powers of each chamber. It has the following characteristics:

  • It must be submitted for matters related to the functions of the position.
  • It must be presented by at least 10% of the Deputies.
  • A vote will be taken between the third and tenth day following the end of the debate.
  • It will prosper if it is approved by an absolute majority of the members of each chamber.
  • If it is rejected, a new one can only be filed for different reasons.
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