Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States
INTERPELLATION, a question propounded to a minister by a member of parliament. Many arguments can be offered in favor of the right of interpellation, even setting aside those founded upon ministerial responsibility. Has not the nation a right to be informed about its own affairs, and can its mandatories exercise their control without asking for the information they may need? When the law does not allow deputies to interrogate the representatives of the government in a legislative assembly, it frequently happens that the questions arise of themselves, and the government immediately answers them. The government may even sometimes be glad of the opportunity thus presented of expressing its opinion. The solemn preparation of these questions only has been removed. Where the right of interpellation is admitted, in Europe, the ministers are informed of the subject of the interpellation, the day is fixed by mutual consent, and the government has an opportunity to prepare itself; but it is not always obliged to answer. The public good may sometimes require the refusal to grant interpellation. The government may also, it is true, pretend a necessity for silence, based upon this motive, and thus avoid a difficulty.
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