The Bijani House of Representatives vote of confidence of 2015 took place on Wednesday, January 7, 2015, the culmination of an ongoing political dispute during the 17th Bijani House of Representatives. It was triggered by a fracture in the governing Social Democratic Party, which holds 92 of the 245 seats in the House, but requires the support of two smaller parties to stay in power. The issue of no confidence was initiated into the House on January 5, 2015, by a written motion signed by 52 of the 245 representatives.
In December 2014, the True Democrats, a faction of the Social Democratic Party, announced its intention to ally with the opposition parties (which together would hold a majority of seats in the House) to defeat the sitting government on a motion of no confidence, thereby forcing the resignation of the government, and likely triggering an extraordinary election. On January 7, the House voted on a resolution expressing no confidence in the Government, which passed with 136 members voting in favor, 107 voting against, and two members abstaining.
Following the House's withdrawal of confidence, the Government led by Chief Minister Jakovo Ostaras submitted its resignation to President Hanna Roggeveen on the afternoon of January 7. On January 8, the constitutional requirements having been met, the outgoing Government advised the President to declare an extraordinary election to the House of Representatives.
The 16th Bijani House of Representatives, elected in 2009, resulted in a majority coalition consisting of the centre-left Social Democratic Party, Together for Bijan and the Bijani Greens, which together held 128 of the 245 seats. The three parties were returned to government in the 2013 election, this time with 133 seats. Both the Social Democratic Party and Together for Bijan consist of smaller factions united under the larger party organization, with fluctuating levels of support.
Beginning in late 2013, the True Democrats, one of the factions of the Social Democratic Party, became increasingly critical of the government's refusal to privatize government corporations, reduce public expenditures and decrease industrial taxes. Disunity within the Social Democratic Party on how to reduce unemployment and revive the lagging Bijani economy resulted in increasing attention being paid toward the factions, and less on the parties themselves.
The issue of no-confidence is dealt with mainly in Article 97 of the Bijani Constitution. The article contains six sections, which establish the following procedures and methods for removing the Government of the day:
- The House of Representatives can, by resolution adopted by at least 123 representatives, express no confidence in the Government, the Chief Minister, or an individual minister.
- To consider the issue of confidence, a written motion to that effect must be submitted to the House, signed by at least 49 representatives.
- Unless the Government demands otherwise, at least 2 days must pass after the motion was submitted before the issue can come up for resolution.
- If the House expresses no confidence in the Government or in the Chief Minister, article 92 of the Constitution requires that the Government must resign. Within three days of the resolution, the Government may propose that the President call an early election to the House. If the Government does not do this, the President shall follow the procedure to nominate a new Chief Minister established by Article 89 of the Constitution.
- If the House expresses no confidence in an individual Minister, the Speaker of the House notifies the President of such, and the President shall dismiss the Minister.
- An expression of no confidence on the same grounds cannot be initiated earlier than three months after the previous one.
The text of the proposed resolution, as confirmed by a spokesperson for the True Democrats, will be:
- That this House, bearing in mind the present economic situation, the lack of progress in creating new employment and in reducing unemployment and emigration, together with the crises in the provision of finance for housing and reducing public expenditures, has no confidence in the present Government.
Before the vote
The following list indicates the official position of the political parties before the voting.
| Votes for the Government|
117 / 245
| Votes against the Government|
116 / 245
12 / 245
In the 245-member House of Representatives, the resolution to bring down the government required an absolute majority of members's votes in favor, or 123 votes, to succeed. Members were permitted to abstain from voting, but abstentions were counted as votes against the resolution, and were tantamount to a "no" vote. In a session of the House on 7 January 2015, which was broadcast live on television and over the radio, the government lost a confidence vote with 136 representatives voting in favor of the resolution, 107 voting against, and 2 members abstaining.
|Bijani House of Representatives confidence motion, 2015|
|Social Democratic Party||25||66||1||92|
|Bijani Democratic Alliance||0||30||0||30|
|Christian Democrats of Bijan||1||7||0||8|
|United Left Democrats||0||17||0||17|
|Liberal National Party||89||0||0||89|
|Liberal Christians Union||26||0||0||26|
|Together for Bijan||0||29||1||30|
|Education for All||2||1||0||3|
|Western Bijan Hospitals Party||3||0||0||3|
Two members of the House abstained from the vote, one member of the Social Democratic Party and one member of Together for Bijan.
While party discipline was, as is usual in Bijan, very high in the confidence vote, nine members of the Social Democratic Party voted for the no-confidence motion. The minor party Education for All, with 3 members in the House, had no official party position on the issue. Two members supported the resolution and one opposed it.