INTERPELLATION (from Lat. interpellare, to interrupt), a term meaning, in general, an interruption, more particularly used of a method of procedure adopted in some of the legislative chambers of continental Europe, especially those of France and Italy, and somewhat similar to that of a motion to adjourn the House in the British parliament. It was originally confined to the asking of a question, after due notice, on some affair of state. It is now, however, the chief means by which the policy or action of the ministry of the day is challenged. An interpellation can be brought on without the consent of the minister to be attacked; it is usually made the subject of a general debate, and generally ends with a vote of confidence or want of confidence in the ministry. The right of permitting or vetoing an interpellation rests with the chamber. In France a tendency has been growing among deputies to use the interpellation as a method of attack on or accusation against individual colleagues.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)