How can I overthrow the US government?
How do you get rid of a government?
In a commentary, colleague Christoph Zotter reported on the chancellor's terrifying Plan B in the matter of the refugee crisis. One reader would like to know: How do you as a citizen get rid of a government by the rule of law? The answer: only very difficult.
Federal governments are appointed in Austria by the Federal President. He can also dismiss the entire government at any time. However, he will have difficulty finding a new one, because the National Council can overthrow any government that does not enjoy the trust of the majority of its MPs. The Federal President can of course dissolve the National Council on the proposal of an interim government, but only once for the same reason. More on this here → President versus Parliament?
If you want to get rid of a government and do not see the chance to convince the majority of the members of the National Council of this, it would be best to stand for the election of Federal President or to support someone who seeks to overthrow the government, which of the current candidates, however, does nobody does. A new election of the National Council, the effective power base of every government, can only be brought about in four ways:
- by the end of the legislative period
- through self-dissolution with a majority decision
- by dissolution by the Federal President on the proposal of the Federal Government by popular vote, if the National Council
- tried in vain by the Federal Assembly to have the Federal President deposed
As a common citizen, you have no chance of voting out a government during the legislative period. “Recall elections” like in some US states do not exist in Austria. A referendum against certain politicians would only have to be dealt with in the National Council, but would not automatically lead to their removal. Incidentally, Switzerland, which is otherwise very democratic, has no way of getting rid of the Federal Council, the federal government. For this to happen, the voters would first have to adopt a corresponding constitutional amendment. Until then, the Swiss government cannot even be deposed by parliament during its term of office.
The Austrian people, too, have to endure the politicians they have elected until the five-year legislative period has expired or the government majority itself can launch new elections. Anyone who is not satisfied with the current situation should perhaps campaign for another political group in the next election campaign. As a voter, you only hold power in the form of a ballot paper every few years and should therefore use it wisely.
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