A veto – Latin for "I forbid" – is the power (used by an officer of the state, for example) to unilaterally stop an official action, especially the enactment of legislation.
A veto can be absolute, as for instance in the United Nations Security Council, whose permanent members (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States of America) can block any resolution. Or it can be limited, as in the legislative process of the United States, where a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate may override a Presidential veto of legislation.
A veto only gives power to stop changes, not to adopt them. Thus a veto allows its holder to protect the status quo.
The concept of a veto body originated with the Roman consuls and tribunes. Either of the two consuls holding office in a given year could block a military or civil decision by the other; any tribune had the power to unilaterally block legislation passed by the Roman Senate.
Read more about Veto: Roman Veto
Famous quotes containing the word veto:
“The veto is a Presidents Constitutional right, given to him by the drafters of the Constitution because they wanted it as a check against irresponsible Congressional action. The veto forces Congress to take another look at legislation that has been passed. I think this is a responsible tool for a president of the United States, and I have sought to use it responsibly.”
—Gerald R. Ford (b. 1913)