Parliament exercises a policy-setting function in respect of the Government, primarily by means of the vote of confidence. Before it begins to govern, every Government must first obtain a vote of confidence in Parliament, which grants or denies it by voting on a motion of confidence that is based on the programme communicated to the Houses of Parliament by the incoming Government.
Pursuant to Article 88 of the Constitution, the President of the Republic, having consulted with the Presidents of the two Houses of Parliament, may dissolve Parliament before term and call new elections. In practice, this occurs when the Houses of Parliament are unable to find a majority to sustain a Government.
Deputies and Senators may move a motion of no confidence in the government at any time. The motion of no confidence must be countersigned by at least one tenth of the members of one of the two Houses of Parliament.
Further, the Government may call a vote of confidence in order to compel the House to reconfirm its support in relation to a specific text being considered by the House (with certain limitations, in the case of the Chamber of Deputies, as indicated in Rule 116). Votes of confidence are also by roll-call. An interval of at least 24 hours must pass between the proposal of a vote of confidence in the Chamber of Deputies and the holding of the vote itself.