Parliament’s legal service says that confidence vote would be the “constitutional custom”

According to an advisory note drafted by the Federal Parliament’s Legal Service “constitution custom” decrees that Charles Michel’s minority government should asked for the support of MPs in a confidence vote. However, the parties in the Federal Government are not enthusiastic about doing so as in some cases such a voted could lead to early elections being called.   

On Monday a number of parties called for a confidence vote. With the Flemish nationalists having left the coalition, Mr Michel’s government is now made up of parties whose MPs total only just over a third of the total number of those with seats in the Chamber of Representatives. The three parties still in the federal coalition, the Francophone liberals, the Flemish liberals and the Flemish Christian democrats say that a vote of confidence is “not necessary” as this is not a new government. Moreover, such a vote could, in specific circumstances lead to early elections being called and that is something that no one, including some of the parties that are calling for a confidence vote, wants.         

The advisory note that states “as a result of the changes to its composition” it would be the “constitutional custom” to hold a confidence vote was drafted by the Federal Parliament’s Legal Service and handed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives Siegfried Bracke.  

However, the note also says that a confidence vote is not “legally enforceable”.

A confidence would allow the opposition parties, in particularly the Flemish Nationalists, to exert pressure on the government.