World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Constitutional crisis

Article Id: WHEBN0000192803
Reproduction Date:

Title: Constitutional crisis  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Canadian sovereignty, 16 May 1877 crisis, 1992 Peruvian constitutional crisis, 1984 New Zealand constitutional crisis, Easter Crisis of 1920
Collection: Constitutional Crises
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Constitutional crisis

A constitutional crisis is a situation that a legal system's constitution or other basic principles of operation appear unable to resolve; it often results in a breakdown in the orderly operation of government. Often, generally speaking, a constitutional crisis is a situation in which separate factions within a government disagree about the extent to which each of these factions hold sovereignty. Most commonly, constitutional crises involve some degree of conflict between different branches of government (e.g., executive, legislature, and/or judiciary), or between different levels of government in a federal system (e.g., state and federal governments).

A constitutional crisis may occur because one or more parties to the dispute willfully chooses to violate a provision of a constitution or an unwritten constitutional convention, or it may occur when the disputants disagree over the interpretation of such a provision or convention. If the dispute arises because some aspect of the constitution is ambiguous or unclear, the ultimate resolution of the crisis often establishes a precedent for the future. For instance, the United States Constitution is silent on the question of whether states may secede from the Union; however, after the secession of several states was forcibly prevented in the American Civil War, it has become generally accepted that states cannot leave the Union.

A constitutional crisis is distinct from a rebellion, which is defined as when factions outside of a government challenge that government's sovereignty, as in a coup or revolution led by the military or civilian protesters.

A constitutional crisis can lead to government paralysis, collapse, or civil war.

Contents

  • African Constitutional crises 1
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo 1.1
    • Malawi 1.2
  • Asian Constitutional crises 2
    • Iran 2.1
    • Malaysia 2.2
    • Pakistan 2.3
    • Thailand 2.4
  • European Constitutional crises 3
    • Belgium 3.1
    • Denmark 3.2
    • England 3.3
    • France 3.4
    • Germany 3.5
    • Malta 3.6
    • Norway 3.7
    • Rome 3.8
    • Russia 3.9
    • Scotland 3.10
    • United Kingdom 3.11
  • North American Constitutional crises 4
    • Canada 4.1
    • Honduras 4.2
    • United States 4.3
  • Oceanian Constitutional crises 5
    • Australia 5.1
    • Fiji 5.2
    • New Zealand 5.3
    • Papua New Guinea 5.4
    • Tuvalu 5.5
  • South American Constitutional crises 6
    • Chile 6.1
    • Peru 6.2
  • Footnotes 7

African Constitutional crises

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Patrice Lumumba

Malawi

  • A constitutional crisis occurred in Malawi in 2012 with regards to the succession of Bingu wa Mutharika. The President and Vice-president were from different parties which led to deliberations over who the rightful successor would be and the constitutional crisis. Vice-President Joyce Banda eventually succeeded wa Mutharika.

Asian Constitutional crises

Iran

Malaysia

Pakistan

  • Supreme Court Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah clashed repeatedly with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in late 1997, accusing him of undermining the court's independence. After Ali Shah suspended a constitutional amendment that prevented dismissal of the prime minister, Sharif ordered President Farooq Leghari to appoint a new chief justice. When Leghari refused, Sharif considered impeaching him, but backed down after a warning from the armed forces. Faced with a choice of accepting Sharif's demands or dismissing him, Leghari resigned. Ali Shah resigned shortly afterward, establishing Sharif's dominance.

Thailand

  • In March 2006, 60 seats of the National Assembly of Thailand could not be elected, and Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra refused to resign. The judicial system did not lead up to Supreme Court as the top arbitrator so there were inconsistent rulings from the civil, criminal, administrative, and constitutional Courts.

European Constitutional crises

Belgium

Denmark

England

For events after 1707, see below.
John of England signs Magna Carta. Illustration from Cassell's History of England (1902)

France

Germany

  • In the Weimar Republic, for several years the country was governed with the help of enabling acts and emergency decrees. The crisis became dramatic in 1932, when the Nazi Party and Communist Party of Germany had together a majority in the parliament. Any government, installed by the Reich President, was likely to be dismissed by the parliament. The crisis ended in a Nazi and conservative coalition government and then Nazi dictatorship. The Weimar constitution was not abolished but made obsolete.
  • The Federal Republic of Germany did not suffer a constitutional crisis strict sense. The closest comes the debate about § 68 of the Basic Law. It describes a vote of confidence in the parliament. If such a vote fails to obtain a majority, the chancellor can dismiss the parliament with the consent of the Federal President. This became the usual way to call for new elections, as it happened under various circumstances in 1972, 1982 and 2005. In 1982 and 2005 some members of parliament complained at the Federal Constitutional Court: The vote of confidence failed deliberately, meaning that it was not a 'real' vote. But the court ruled that the members of parliament, the chancellor and the Federal President are free to decide whether the situation in parliament makes new elections necessary.

Malta

Norway

  • Impeachment of prime minister Selmer's cabinet in 1883/1884 regarding the king's right to veto changes to the constitution, and establishment of an ad-hoc parliamentary practice until amended to the constitution in 2007.[1][2][3][4]
  • Dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905

Rome

  • The crossing of the Rubicon by Julius Caesar in 49 BC with his legions. This action, which had no precedent, precipitated a crisis only fully resolved in 31 BC, when Octavian defeated all his enemies to become the sole master of the Roman world.

Russia

Tanks of the Taman Division shelling the Russian White House on 4 October 1993.

Scotland

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.

United Kingdom

North American Constitutional crises

Canada

Honduras

United States

The Electoral Commission was a panel that resolved the disputed presidential election of 1876.
  • The Stamp Act 1765, by which the British Parliament sought to tax the Thirteen Colonies, set off protests from colonial politicians against taxation without representation. Parliament continued to assert its authority in subsequent acts, throwing colonial governments into chaos and leading the colonists to declare total independence from Britain.
  • The Nullification Crisis of 1832, in which South Carolina declared that it would not permit collection of a federal tariff.
  • In 1841 the death of President William Harrison resulted in Vice-President John Tyler becoming President, the first vice-president to succeed thus to the presidency. He assumed full presidential powers, although there was doubt whether the actual office of President "devolved" upon the Vice President or merely its powers and duties. The "Tyler Precedent" governed future successions and eventually become codified in the Twenty-fifth Amendment. Some opposition "Whig" members of Congress including John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay held that Tyler should be a caretaker under the title of "Acting President". He was referred to as "His Accidency". However, both houses of Congress adopted a resolution confirming that Tyler was the tenth President of the United States without any qualification. Unsuccessful amendments had been proposed in both houses to messages to the President to strike out the word "President" in favor of language including the term "Vice President" to refer to Tyler. Tyler had correspondence from his political opponents to the White House addressed to the "Vice President" or "Acting President" returned unopened.
  • The secession of seven Southern states in 1861, which the federal government did not recognize, leading to the American Civil War.
  • 1876 presidential election: Republicans and Democrats disputed voting results in three states. An ad hoc Electoral Commission, created by Congress, voted along party lines in favor of Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes, who damped Southern fury by withdrawing federal troops from the South.

Oceanian Constitutional crises

Australia

Fiji

New Zealand

Papua New Guinea

Tuvalu

South American Constitutional crises

Chile

Peru

Footnotes

  1. ^ Impeachment (Norway)
  2. ^ Monarchy of Norway#Council of State
  3. ^ Storting
  4. ^ http://www.liberaleren.no/2007/02/20/parlamentarismen-inn-i-grunnloven/
  5. ^ Acuerdo de la Cámara de Diputados sobre el grave quebrantamiento del orden constitucional y legal de la República
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.