The Merkel III Cabinet: Germany’s Longest Caretaker

The CSU-CDU and SPD form Grand Coalition III


The Merkel III Cabinet should have lasted from 2013 to 2017, but it lingered on in office for five months – from the first meeting of the new Bundestag on 24 October 2017 until the appointment of the new cabinet on 14 March 2018 – as a caretaker government.

In the midst of that unprecedented political crisis, I quipped earlier this year that “Germany Is the New Belgium” after it became clear that Merkel wanted to avoid another election at all costs. I’m following up on those two earlier entries, belatedly, and showing how Merkel III ended and Merkel IV finally took office on 14 March 2018.

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Posted in Comparative, Formation of Governments, Government Formation in Germany | Leave a comment

The Fixed-Term Parliaments Act’s Complexities Could Save Prime Minister May

Two of the most prominent cabinet ministers, and those most heavily implicated in Brexit negotiations, have resigned from Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet, and her ministry could fall.

However, the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act complicates matters and could even offer the beleaguered May a reprieve, or at least keep the Conservative Party in government. This act has put the British Crown’s prerogative authority over dissolving parliament into abeyance. In other words, the Queen no longer dissolves Parliament on the advice of the Prime Minister. Instead, Parliament can now only be dissolved pursuant to the statutory authority contained within the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act itself.

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Posted in Crown (Powers and Office), Dissolution, Fixed-Date Elections, Reform | 12 Comments

Canada’s Counter-Manifest Destiny

The Dorchester Review latest issue just came out last week. It includes my little piece on George Brown and Canada’s Manifest Destiny, in which I argue that George Brown — the underrated visionary — saw Confederation as the means of making British America stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic as a counterweight to and mirrorimage of the United States of America. Confederation cemented the Counter-Revolution of 1783.

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Posted in Dominion Day, Dorchester Review, History of British North America | 1 Comment

The 1867 as Year Zero School of Canadian History Meets the War of 1812

President Trump has not only killed thirty years of free trade between Canada and the United States but also set off a bizarre firestorm about the War of 1812, of all things. In what has been reported to be a tense conversation over the telephone with Prime Minister Trudeau, who questioned Trump’s bogus rationale of imposing a tariff on Canadian steel and aluminium on the grounds of “national security,” the President asked — and “I would suggest […] if you know the president, that was probably a facetious remark” — whether Canada had burned down the White House in 1814.

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Posted in History of British North America | 1 Comment

Will Wade MacLauchlan Become the First Premier to Ignore a Fixed-Date Election Law Twice?

Not quite as handsome as New Brunswick’s Legislative Assembly.

The CBC recently ran an interesting article about electoral speculation — the political journalist’s favourite pastime — in Prince Edward Island when Premier Wade MacLauchlan refused to answer a simple question from an Opposition MLA on when the next general election will take place. This follows on the CBC’s earlier electoral speculation in January 2018.

Perhaps we can excuse MacLauchlan for having maintained a politician’s coyness on the issue, because overlapping fixed-date election laws have made that question more convoluted.

Prince Edward Island adopted its fixed-date election law in 2008 as part of its Election Act, which schedules the province’s general elections for the first Monday in October every four years starting in October 2011. The second fixed-date election should therefore have taken place in October 2015 — but it did not.

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Posted in Fixed-Date Elections, Reform | 1 Comment