Romanian opposition failed once again to overthrow the Government in 2019. This came as no surprise. However, the main party in power requested its members not to vote at all.

The trick is that the vote is not electronically done, the vote itself is secret except that the fact that if a MP voted or not is publicly known. In order to avoid having any of its members to secretly vote against the government, the leadership urged them not to vote at all, even threatening with exclusion from the party.

I am wondering if such a trick is employed in any other EU country.

Question: Is there any political party in a EU country that has a leadership that virtually bypasses secret voting by asking its MPs not to vote?

  • 1
    Most European legislatures use public voting for most if not all decisions as this answer says. So there would be limited scope for this.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jan 6, 2022 at 14:17
  • If they didn't vote, how did the government survive the result?
    – WS2
    Commented Jan 9, 2022 at 9:44
  • @WS2 It was a no confidence vote. It required of certain number of votes to pass. Not voting equals disagree with the no confidence proposal.
    – Alexei
    Commented Jan 9, 2022 at 10:09
  • @Alexei Doesn't not voting constitute an abstention? Presumably some of the government MPs must have voted otherwise "no confidence" would have won. At least that would be the case in the British parliament. Perhaps Romania has different rules.
    – WS2
    Commented Jan 10, 2022 at 21:15
  • @WS2 AFAIK, not voting is allowed. Generally speaking, the results are always provided as a number of "for", a number of "against" and a count of "Abstention" (not sure about the term).
    – Alexei
    Commented Jan 11, 2022 at 8:36

1 Answer 1


Secret voting is no longer routinely used in any other European Parliament. (With partial exceptions for votes on appointments in some countries). The reason for this is clear. If you don't know how your representative voted, how do you know if they have represented you or not?

So this circumstance hasn't arisen in any other country. The range of circumstances in which this could be a reasonable tactic is quite small. I suppose in a vote which requires 50% of the electorate to pass (not 50% of the voters) The not voting has the same effect as voting "No". And I suppose if you feel that you are certain to win a vote, even if all of your party sits on their hands, then there could be reasons of party discipline that would make this a reasonable strategy. Such circumstances would be very rare.

As no other Parliament has secret ballots for confidence motions. This hasn't occurred elsewhere in Europe.

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