Hung parliament

A hung parliament is a term used in legislatures under the Westminster system to describe a situation in which no particular political party or pre-existing coalition (also known as an alliance or bloc) has an absolute majority of legislators (commonly known as members or seats) in a parliament or other legislature. This situation is also known, albeit less commonly, as a balanced parliament,[1][2] or as a legislature under no overall control,[3][4][5] and can result in a minority government. The term is not relevant in multi-party systems where it is rare for a single party to hold a majority.

In the Westminster System, in the circumstance of a hung parliament, no party or coalition has an automatic mandate to assume control of the executive – a status usually known in parliamentary systems as "forming (a) government". However, an absolute majority may still be gained through the formation of a new coalition government, or the addition of previously unaffiliated members to a pre-existing coalition. However, a minority government may instead result: that is, the party that has the most members is allowed to form government without an absolute majority, provided that it has the express, ongoing support of unaffiliated members, such as minor parties and/or independent legislators.

Overview

A normal objective of parliamentary systems – especially those requiring responsible government, such as the Westminster system – is the formation of a stable government (i.e. ideally one that lasts a full parliamentary term, until the next election would normally be due). This requires a government to be able to muster sufficient votes in parliament to pass motions of confidence and supply, especially motions of no-confidence and budget bills). If such motions fail, they normally result in the dissolution of parliament and a fresh election. In some parliamentary systems, however, a new government may be formed without recourse to an election – if, for example, a minor party holds the balance of power, it may publicly express for the opposition, thereby creating a new majority.

The term hung parliament is most often used of parliaments dominated by two major parties or coalitions. General elections in such systems usually result in one party having an absolute majority and thus quickly forming a new government. In most parliamentary systems, a hung parliament is considered exceptional and is often seen by all parties and observers as undesirable. In other contexts, a hung parliament may be seen as ideal – for example, if opinions among the voting public are polarised regarding one or more issues, a hung parliament may lead to the emergence of a compromise or consensus.

If a legislature is bicameral, the term "hung parliament" is usually used only with respect to the lower house.

In a multi-party system with legislators elected by proportional representation or a similar systems, it is usually exceptionally rare and difficult for any party to have an absolute majority. Under such situations, hung parliaments are often taken for granted and coalition governments are normal. However, the term may be used to describe an election in which no established coalition wins an outright majority (such as the German federal election of 2005 or the 2018 Italian general election).

History

Ireland

Because Ireland uses PR-STV, it is rare for any one party to have a majority on its own. The last such occasion was 1977. However, one or other coalitions are known to be possible before and during the election. Therefore, a "hung Dáil" (Dáil Éireann being the lower and most dominant chamber of the Oireachtas/Parliament) in Ireland refers more to the inability of a coalition of parties who traditionally enter government together or would be expected to govern together, from doing so.

The President has no direct role in the formation of governments in the case of a hung parliament. However he retains the power to convene a meeting of either or both the Dáil and Senate which could become important if there was a government trying to use parliamentary recess to prevent confidence votes and hold onto power. The President may also refuse to dissolve Dáil Eireann and call an election if the Taoiseach loses a vote of confidence, instead giving the other parties a chance to see if they can put together a government without proceeding to another election.

In 2016, Fine Gael and Labour, who had been in government the previous five years, were unable, due to Labours collapse, to enter government again. Fianna Fáil had enough seats to put together a rainbow government with the other centre-left, hard left parties and independents but negotiations broke down. Fianna Fáil had also promised not to enter coalition with Sinn Féin due to the current leaderships Provisional IRA connections.

The press began to speculate about a Germany style "Grand Coalition" similar to the Christian Democrats and Social Democrats there. Many members of FF considered FG too right wing to enter coalition with and threatened to leave the party this came to pass. As talks continued on without a new government (the old government, constitutionally, which had just been voted out, remaining in power including ministers who had lost their seats) FF agreed to allow a government to form by abstention. The parliamentary arithmetic fell in such a way that if FF TD's abstained on confidence and supply matters, a FG minority govt could, with the support of a group of independents, form a new government. This was agreed in exchange for a number of policy concessions. Once the deal with FF was signed, Taoiseach Enda Kenny conducted talks with the independents and entered government for a second term.

United Kingdom

UK House of Commons 2017
The House of Commons following the 2017 general election. No party has a majority.

In the United Kingdom, before World War I, a largely stable two-party system existed for generations; traditionally, only the Tories and Whigs, or from the mid-19th century the Conservative and Liberal parties, managed to deliver Members of Parliament in significant numbers. Hung parliaments were thus rare, especially during the 19th century. The possibility of change arose when, in the aftermath of the Act of Union, 1800, a number of Irish MPs took seats in the House, though initially these followed the traditional alignments. However, two Reform Acts (in 1867 and in 1884) significantly extended the franchise and redrew the constituencies, and coincided with a change in Irish politics. After the 1885 general election, neither party had an overall majority. The Irish Parliamentary Party held the balance of power and made Irish Home Rule a condition of their support. However, the Liberal Party split on the issue of Irish Home Rule, leading to another general election in 1886, in which the Conservatives won the most seats and governed with the support of the fragment of Liberalism opposed to Home Rule, the Liberal Unionist Party.

Both the election of January 1910, and that of December 1910 produced a hung parliament with an almost identical number of seats won by the governing Liberal Party and the Conservative Party. This was due both to the constitutional crisis and to the rise of the Labour Party. The elections of 1929 resulted in the last hung parliament for many years; in the meantime, Labour had replaced the Liberals as one of the two dominating parties.

Since the elections of 1929, there have been three general elections that resulted in hung parliaments in the UK. The first was the election in February 1974, and the ensuing parliament lasted only until October. The second was the May 2010 election, the result of which was a hung parliament with the Conservative party as the largest single party. The results for the 3 main parties were: Conservatives 306, Labour 258, Liberal Democrats 57.[6] The third one resulted from the snap election held in June 2017 that had been called for by Theresa May in order to strengthen her majority heading into Brexit negotiations later in 2017. However, this election backfired on May and her Conservative Party, resulting in a hung parliament after the snap election.[7]

The formation of the coalition resulting from the 2010 election led to the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, which instituted fixed five-year Parliaments and transferred the power to call early elections from the Prime Minister to Parliament itself. This was the idea of the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, then the leader of the Liberal Democrats, who said that this would stop the Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron, from calling a snap election to end the hung parliament, as many other Conservatives had requested.

Hung parliaments can also arise when slim government majorities are eroded by by-election defeats and defection of Members of Parliament to opposition parties, as well as resignations of MPs from the House of Commons. This happened in December 1996 to the Conservative government of John Major (1990–97) and in mid-1978 to the Labour government of James Callaghan (1976–79); this latter period covers the era known as the Winter of Discontent. The minority government of Jim Callaghan came when Labour ended their 15-month Lib-Lab pact with the Liberals having lost their majority in early 1977.

According to researchers Andrew Blick and Stuart Wilks-Heeg, the phrase "hung parliament" did not enter into common usage in the UK until the mid-1970s. It was first used in the press by journalist Simon Hoggart in The Guardian in 1974.[8]

Academic treatments of hung parliaments include David Butler's Governing Without a Majority: Dilemmas for Hung Parliaments in Britain (Sheridan House, 1986) and Vernon Bogdanor's 'Multi-Party Politics and the Constitution' (Cambridge University Press, 1983).

Canada

Three recent Canadian Parliaments (the 38th, the 39th, and the 40th Parliaments) were hung parliaments, although that term is not used in Canada. Rather, the term "minority government" is used to describe the situation in which the party with the greatest number of seats in the House of Commons (but less than a majority) forms the Government. The aftermath of all three of these elections was that the largest party ruled as a "minority government". Although minority governments have tended to be short-lived, the two successive minorities under Prime Minister Stephen Harper managed to hold on to power from February 2006 until a no confidence vote in March 2011 resulted in the dissolution of Parliament and elections held on 2 May 2011. The subsequent election saw a majority parliament elected with Harper's Conservative Party obtaining a 24-seat majority. The make-up of the 40th Canadian Parliament hung parliament resulted in the 2008–09 Canadian parliamentary dispute. The Conservative Party had a plurality of seats, however, the Liberal Party and New Democratic Party together held enough seats to have a larger plurality and reached an accord to form a minority coalition government. The Bloc Québécois agreed to provide support on confidence votes. On 4 December 2008, Governor General Michaëlle Jean granted Prime Minister Stephen Harper a prorogation on the condition that parliament reconvene early in the new year; the date was set as 26 January 2009. The first session of the 40th parliament thus ended, delaying a vote of no-confidence.[9]

Australia

Australian House of Reps Sept 2010
The House of Representatives elected in 2010, with a 72-72 tie between the Labor Party and the Opposition Coalition.

Australian parliaments are modelled on the Westminster system, with a hung parliament typically defined as a lack of a lower house parliamentary majority from either the Australian Labor Party or Liberal/National Coalition.

Hung parliaments are rare at the federal level in Australia, as a virtual two-party system, in which the Australian Labor Party competes against an alliance of the conservative parties, has existed with only brief interruptions since the early 20th century. Prior to 1910, no party had a majority in the House of Representatives. As a result, there were frequent changes of government, several of which took place during parliamentary terms. Since 1910, when the two-party system was cemented, there have been two hung parliaments, the first in 1940, and the second in 2010. At the 1940 federal election, incumbent Prime Minister Robert Menzies secured the support of the two crossbenchers and continued to govern, but in 1941 the independents switched their support to Labor, bringing John Curtin to power.

Declining support for the major parties in recent times is leading to more non-majoritarian outcomes at elections.[10] At the 2010 federal election, which resulted in an exact 72-72 seat tie between Labor and The Liberal-National Coalition, incumbent Prime Minister Julia Gillard secured the support of four out of six Independent and Green Party crossbenchers and continued to govern.

In the most recent election a hung parliament was only narrowly averted with the Liberal-National Coalition winning 76 seats, the bare minimum required to form a majority government. The Liberal-National Coalition government lost its majority government status after a by-election in 2018.

Having hung Parliaments in both Australia and the United Kingdom at the same time, and also briefly including Canada as well, is unprecedented in the history of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Hung parliaments are rather more common at a state level. The Tasmanian House of Assembly and the unicameral Parliament of the Australian Capital Territory are both elected by Hare-Clark proportional representation, thus, elections commonly return hung parliaments. In other states and territories, candidates contest single-member seats. With far fewer seats than federal parliament, hung parliaments are more likely to be elected. Recent examples include New South Wales in 1991, Queensland in 1998 and 2015, Victoria in 1999, South Australia in 1997 and 2002, Western Australia in 2008, the Australian Capital Territory in 2008, and Tasmania in 2010.

New Zealand

Hung parliaments had a relatively uncommon place in New Zealand politics prior to the introduction of proportional representation in 1993. Only on five occasions since the beginnings of modern party politics in 1890 has a hung parliament occurred, in 1911, 1922, 1928, 1931 & 1993 respectively. The rarity between 1936 and 1996 was due to the regression into a two party system, alternating between the long dominating New Zealand Labour Party and New Zealand National Party.[11] Since the first MMP election in 1996 no single party has gained an outright majority in parliament. Subsequent governments have all been formed as either coalitions or under confidence and supply agreements.

Consequences

In countries used to decisive election outcomes, a hung parliament is often viewed as an unfavourable outcome, leading to relatively weak and unstable government. A period of uncertainty after the election is common, as major party leaders negotiate with independents and minor parties to establish a working majority.

An aspiring head of government may seek to build a coalition government; in Westminster systems, this typically involves agreement on a joint legislative programme and a number of ministerial posts going to the minor coalition partners, in return for a stable majority. Alternatively, a minority government may be formed, establishing confidence and supply agreements in return for policy concessions agreed in advance, or relying on case by case support.

Australia

In the Western Australian state election of 2008 the Australian Labor Party won more seats than the Liberal Party at 28 to 24. The National Party along with three independents had the seats needed to give either party a majority. To help the Liberal Party form government, the Nationals supported the party on the condition that the Royalties for Regions policy was implemented.

In the 1999 Victorian state election, the Labor Party won 42 seats, while the incumbent Liberal National Coalition retained 43, with 3 seats falling to independents. The Labor Party formed a minority government with the 3 independents.

The 2010 Tasmanian state election resulted in a hung parliament. After a period of negotiation, the incumbent Labor government led by David Bartlett was recommissioned, but containing the Leader of the Tasmanian Greens, Nick McKim, as a minister, and the Greens' Cassy O'Connor as Cabinet Secretary.

In the 2010 federal election, neither Labor nor the Liberal coalition secured the majority of seats required to form a Government in their own right. In order to counter the potential instability of minority government involved groups may negotiate written agreements defining their terms of support. Such measures were undertaken by the Gillard Government in 2010.[12]

India

In India if an election results in a 'hung assembly' in one of the state Legislative Assemblies and no party is capable of gaining confidence then fresh elections are announced to be held as soon as possible. Until this occurs President's Rule (or in the State of Jammu and Kashmir 'Governor's Rule') is applied. In India there have been many situations of hung assemblies in the state legislatures.

New Zealand

The first such occasion was in 1911 when the Liberal Party won fewer seats than the opposition Reform Party despite tallying the most votes. A vote of no confidence was placed by Reform and the Liberals survived by just one vote. This prompted Prime Minister Sir Joseph Ward to resign, his replacement Thomas Mackenzie was later defeated in July 1912 in a vote with several MPs and Labour crossing the floor to vote with the opposition, the last time in New Zealand history a government has changed on a confidence vote. This broke 23 years of Liberal governance and William Massey formed a new Reform Party government. Massey governed through to his death in 1925, though in 1922 the Reform Party suffered major losses and Massey was forced negotiate with several Independent MPs to retain power.

In 1928, Reform were ousted from governance and Joseph Ward once again won back power. However, the Reform and United (Liberal) parties were tied on seats with Labour holding the balance of power. Labour chose to back Ward rather than let Reform leader Gordon Coates remain in office. In the next election in 1931, there was again a three-way deadlock. On this occasion the Reform and United parties became a coalition government out of mutual fear of Labour's ever-increasing appeal as the Great Depression worsened.

1993 was the last time a hung parliament occurred in New Zealand. Governor-General Dame Catherine Tizard asked Sir David Beattie to form a committee, along with three retired appeal court judges, to decide whom to appoint as Prime Minister. [13] However National won an extra seat after special votes were counted, giving National 50 seats and Labour 45 seats (4 were won by third party candidates). Labour's Sir Peter Tapsell agreed to become Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives. As a result, National did not lose a vote in the house and maintained a dubious majority for three years.

United Kingdom

In the February 1974 General Election, no party gained an overall parliamentary majority. Labour won the most seats (301, which was 17 seats short of an overall majority) with the Conservatives on 297 seats, although the Conservatives had a larger share of the popular vote. As the incumbent Prime Minister, Edward Heath remained in office, attempting to build a coalition with the Liberals. When these negotiations were unsuccessful Heath resigned and Labour led by Harold Wilson took over in a minority government.

In the 2010 UK General Election, another hung parliament occurred with the Conservatives as the largest party, and discussions followed to help create a stable government. This resulted in agreement on a coalition government, which was also a majority government, between the Conservative Party, which won the most votes and seats in the election, and the Liberal Democrats.

In the 2017 UK General Election, a hung parliament occurred for the second time in seven years with the Conservatives again being the largest party. The Conservatives led by Theresa May formed a minority government, supported by a confidence-and-supply agreement with the Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party.

Working majority

There have been occasions when, although a parliament or assembly is technically hung, the party in power has a working majority. For example, in the United Kingdom, the tradition is that the Speaker and Deputy Speakers do not vote and Sinn Féin MPs never take their seats, so these members can be discounted from the opposition numbers.

United Kingdom

In 2005, this was the case in the 60-seat National Assembly for Wales, where Labour lost their majority when Peter Law was expelled for standing against the official candidate in the 2005 Westminster election in the Blaenau Gwent constituency. When the Assembly was first elected on 1 May 2003, Labour won 30 seats, Plaid Cymru won 12, the Conservatives won 11, Liberal Democrats won 6, and the John Marek Independent Party won a seat.

When Dafydd Elis-Thomas (Plaid Cymru) was reelected as the presiding officer, this reduced the number of opposition AMs who could vote to 29, as the presiding officer votes only in the event of a tie and, even then, not on party political lines but according to Speaker Denison's rule. Thus, Labour had a working majority of one seat until Law ran in Blaenau Gwent.[14]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Balanced parliament: No need to rush". The Guardian. London. 2010-05-05.
  2. ^ "SNP puts case for hung parliament". BBC News. 2010-04-20.
  3. ^ "Q+A - What happens if no party gets a majority in UK election?". Reuters. May 7, 2010.
  4. ^ Paun, Akash (2009-12-04). "Hung up on 'no overall control'". The Guardian. London.
  5. ^ "Welcome to the era of no overall control". Newstatesman.com. Retrieved 2013-12-27.
  6. ^ "General election 2010 results of a hung parliament" Archived 10 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine, PoliticsRAW. May 08, 2010
  7. ^ "Election results 2017: UK wakes up to hung Parliament". BBC News. 2017-06-09. Retrieved 2017-06-09.
  8. ^ Blick, Andrew; Stuart Wilks-Heeg (April 2010). "Governing without majorities: Coming to terms with balanced Parliaments in UK politics" (PDF). Liverpool: Democratic Audit. p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 July 2010. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  9. ^ "GG agrees to suspend Parliament: Harper". CBC. 2008-12-04. Archived from the original on 5 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-04.
  10. ^ Ward, Alan J. (2014). Parliamentary Government in Australia. Anthem Press. p. 172. ISBN 178308121X. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  11. ^ Bassett, Michael (1982). Three Party Politics in New Zealand 1911–1931. Auckland: Historical Publications. pp. 64–5. ISBN 0-86870-006-1.
  12. ^ Fenna, Alan; Jane Robbins; John Summers (2013). Government Politics in Australia. Pearson Higher Education AU. p. 49. ISBN 1486001386. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  13. ^ McLean, Gavin (2006). The Governors: New Zealand's Governors and Governors-General. Otago University Press. ISBN 1-877372-25-0.
  14. ^ Labour lose assembly majority as Law quits, ePolitix.com. April 17, 2005

External links

United Kingdom

1904 Western Australian state election

Elections were held in the Australian state of Western Australia on 28 June 1904 to elect 50 members to the state's Legislative Assembly.

The election resulted in a hung parliament. The Labour Party, led by Robert Hastie, won 22 seats, while the governing Ministerialists won 18 seats, and independents won 12 seats. Walter James, who had been premier since July 1902, initially continued on in the role after the election. The Labour Party elected a new leader, Henry Daglish, on 8 July. Daglish successfully moved a motion of no confidence on 2 August, and after James's resignation became premier on 10 August. He was Western Australia's first premier from the Labour Party.

1923 United Kingdom general election

The 1923 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 6 December 1923. The Conservatives, led by Stanley Baldwin, won the most seats, but Labour, led by Ramsay MacDonald, and H. H. Asquith's reunited Liberal Party gained enough seats to produce a hung parliament. It was the last UK general election in which a third party (the Liberals) won more than 100 seats, or received more than 26% of the vote.

MacDonald formed the first ever Labour government with tacit support from the Liberals. Asquith's motivation for permitting Labour to enter power, rather than trying to bring the Liberals back into government, was that he hoped they would prove to be incompetent and quickly lose support. Being a minority, MacDonald's government only lasted ten months and another general election was held in October 1924.

1928 Japanese general election

General elections were held in Japan on 20 February 1928, the first after the introduction of universal male suffrage. The ruling Rikken Seiyūkai led by Prime Minister Tanaka Giichi won one more seat than the opposition Rikken Minseitō led by Hamaguchi Osachi, although Rikken Minseitō had received slightly more votes. The hung parliament led to the Tanaka government continuing in office.

1959 Western Australian state election

Elections were held in the state of Western Australia on 21 March 1959 to elect all 50 members to the Legislative Assembly. The result was a hung parliament—the two-term Labor government, led by Premier Albert Hawke, was defeated with an average swing against it of about 7 per cent, but the Liberal-Country Party coalition, led by Opposition Leader David Brand, won exactly half of the seats, and needed the support of at least one of the two Independent Liberal members to obtain a majority in the Assembly. The situation remained precarious throughout the term—while Bill Grayden joined the LCL the following year, giving the Coalition a one-seat majority, the other Independent Liberal, Edward Oldfield, joined the Labor Party.

1971 Newfoundland general election

The 36th Newfoundland general election was held on 28 October 1971 to elect members of the 35th General Assembly of Newfoundland, the seventh general election for the province of Newfoundland, Canada. It resulted in a hung parliament as, with the support of the Labrador Party's lone MHA, the Smallwood government had the support of 21 MHAs compared to 21 for the Progressive Conservative party. Smallwood ultimately resigned in January 1972 allowing Moores' Tories to form a government but the instability in the House led to the March 24, 1972 provincial election.

1996 Indian general election

General elections were held in India in 1996 to elect the members of the 11th Lok Sabha contested by the Congress Party and Bharatiya Janata Party. The result of the election was a hung parliament with neither top two leading securing a mandate. The Bharatiya Janata Party formed a short lived government. United Front, consisting of non Congress, non BJP was created and secured support from 332 members out of the 545 seats in the Lok Sabha, resulting in H.D. Deve Gowda from the Janata Dal being the 11th Prime Minister of India. The 11th Lok Sabha produced three Prime Ministers in two years and forced the country back to the polls in 1998.

1999 Turkish general election

Turkey's 14th general election was held on Sunday April 18, 1999 and was the first election in Turkish history to combine local, council and parliamentary elections on the same day. Bülent Ecevit's Democratic Left Party (DSP) had been soaring in popularity after the capture of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, emerged as the biggest party and swept the board in most of Turkey's western provinces. It failed, however, to obtain an overall majority, and did not do nearly as well in the eastern provinces.

The second largest party (dubbed "the second winner" by the press the following day) became the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which performed strongly nationwide, producing MPs from nearly all of the country's 81 provinces. The largest party of the last election, the Virtue Party (FP), returned to opposition after shedding forty-seven seats and a million votes. The decline of the Republican People's Party continued; this was the first time the party failed to exceed the 10 percent threshold for parliamentary representation. This was the last election which produced a hung parliament until the June 2015 general election.

2002 Trinidad and Tobago general election

Early general elections were held in Trinidad and Tobago on 7 October 2002, after People's National Movement leader Patrick Manning had failed to secure a majority in the hung parliament produced by the 2001 elections. This time the PNM was able to secure a majority, winning 20 of the 36 seats. Voter turnout was 69.6%.

2010 United Kingdom general election

The 2010 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday, 6 May 2010, with 45,597,461 registered voters entitled to vote to elect members to the House of Commons. The election took place in 650 constituencies across the United Kingdom under the first-past-the-post system. None of the parties achieved the 326 seats needed for an overall majority. The Conservative Party, led by David Cameron, won the largest number of votes and seats, but still fell 20 seats short. This resulted in a hung parliament where no party was able to command a majority in the House of Commons. This was only the second general election since the Second World War to return a hung parliament, the first being the February 1974 election. Unlike in 1974, the potential for a hung parliament had this time been widely considered and predicted, and both the country and politicians were better prepared for the constitutional process that would follow such a result. The coalition government that was subsequently formed was the first coalition in British history to eventuate directly from an election outcome. The hung parliament came about in spite of the Conservatives managing both a higher vote total and higher share of the vote than the previous Labour government had done in 2005, when it secured a comfortable majority.

Coalition talks began immediately between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, and lasted for five days. There was an aborted attempt to put together a Labour/Liberal Democrat coalition (although other smaller parties would have been required to make up the ten seats they lacked for a majority). To facilitate this, Gordon Brown announced on the evening of Monday 10 May that he would resign as Leader of the Labour Party. Realising that a deal with the Conservatives was within reach, the next day on Tuesday 11 May, Brown announced his resignation as Prime Minister, marking the end of 13 years of Labour government. This was accepted by Queen Elizabeth II, who then invited David Cameron to form a government in her name and become Prime Minister. Just after midnight on 12 May, the Liberal Democrats emerged from a meeting of their Parliamentary party and Federal Executive to announce that the coalition deal had been "approved overwhelmingly", sealing a coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

None of the three main party leaders had previously led a general election campaign, a situation which had not occurred since the 1979 election. During the campaign, the three main party leaders engaged in a series of televised debates, the first such debates in a UK general election campaign. The Liberal Democrats achieved a breakthrough in opinion polls after the first debate, in which their leader Nick Clegg was widely seen as the strongest performer. Nonetheless, on polling day their share of the vote increased by only 1% over the previous general election, and they suffered a net loss of five seats. This was still the Liberal Democrats' largest popular vote since the party's creation in 1988, and they found themselves in a pivotal role in the formation of the new government. The share of votes for parties other than Labour or the Conservatives was 35%, the largest since the 1918 general election. In terms of votes it was the most "three-cornered" election since 1923, and in terms of seats since 1929. The Green Party of England and Wales won its first ever seat in the House of Commons, and the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland also gained its first elected member. The general election saw a 5.1% national swing from Labour to the Conservatives, the third-largest since 1945. The result in one constituency, Oldham East and Saddleworth, was subsequently declared void on petition because of illegal practices during the campaign, the first such instance since 1910.

2010 United Kingdom government formation

The events surrounding the formation of the United Kingdom's government in 2010 took place between 7 May and 12 May 2010, following the 2010 general election, which failed to produce an overall majority for any of the country's three main political parties. The election, held on 6 May, resulted in the first hung parliament in the UK in 36 years, sparking a series of negotiations which would form the first coalition government since the Second World War.

The governing Labour administration led by Gordon Brown was defeated in the election and lost its overall majority after 13 years in office. The opposition Conservatives led by David Cameron won the largest number of seats in the new Parliament, but fell short of the number required to secure an overall majority. Consequently, senior figures from both parties embarked on a series of make-or-break meetings with representatives from the Liberal Democrats led by Nick Clegg, aimed at forming a coalition government.

As leader of the third largest party, Clegg had announced that the Liberal Democrats would enter talks with whichever party held the greater number of seats. A series of meetings with the Conservatives began shortly after the hung parliament was announced, and continued over the weekend after the election. Negotiations were also held with the Labour Party. The Scottish National Party signalled its willingness to join Labour and the Liberal Democrats in government as part of a rainbow coalition, but it quickly became clear that Gordon Brown's continued presence as Prime Minister was seen as a major obstacle to formulating a Labour–Liberal Democrat deal.

Although Brown relinquished his role as Labour leader on 10 May, the party failed to reach an agreement with the Liberal Democrats; the latter instead struck a deal with the Conservatives the following day. Brown resigned as Prime Minister on the evening of 11 May, and the Conservative–Liberal Democrat Coalition government led by David Cameron took office shortly thereafter. The Liberal Democrats emerged from a meeting of their Parliamentary party and Federal Executive to announce that the coalition deal had been "approved overwhelmingly" shortly after midnight on 12 May, and later the same day the two parties published the Conservative – Liberal Democrat coalition agreement setting out the terms of their deal. While Cameron became Prime Minister, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg was appointed as Deputy Prime Minister.

2013 Pakistani general election

General elections were held in Pakistan on 11 May 2013 to elect the members of the 14th National Assembly and to the four provincial assemblies of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Elections were held in all four provinces, Islamabad's federal capital territory and in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The remaining two territories of Pakistan, the Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, were ineligible to vote due to their disputed status. Allegations on systematic vote rigging, favouritism, and ethnicity trends on political parties marred with controversy regarding the nationwide elections; this eventually led to anti-government march that called for electoral reforms in 2014.

The fifth largest democracy and second largest Muslim democracy after Indonesia in the world, the elections are noted for the first civilian transfer of power following the successful completion of a five-year term by a democratically elected government. Election took place in 272 constituencies, whilst a further 70 seats were awarded to parties having been reserved for women and minority groups; none of the parties achieved the 172 seats needed for an overall majority. The Pakistan Muslim League (N) won the largest number of votes and seats but still fell six seats short; this resulted in a hung parliament where no party was able to command a majority in the National Assembly. Initial results saw the hung parliament for a second consecutive general election—the first being the prior general election in 2008. Potential for a hung parliament was widely considered and predicted as both countries' politicians were better prepared for the constitutional process that would follow such a result, in contrast to 2008.Speculations for the potential hung parliament were dismissed when the independent candidates joined the PML (N) which allowed that party to form a simple-majority government by bringing on-board nineteen independent candidates, thirteen more than the minimum required to form a government. This swing ultimately resulted in Nawaz Sharif becoming the new Prime Minister of Pakistan.Prior to the elections, the centre-left PPP formed an alliance with PML(Q), while on the conservative side, the PML (N) allied with PML(F) and Baloch parties. Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan led the centrist PTI, and the Jamaat-e-Islami also participated in the elections. PPP and PML(Q) saw their vote share plummet, both being essentially wiped out in Punjab.

2015 United Kingdom general election

The 2015 United Kingdom general election was held on 7 May 2015 to elect 650 members to the House of Commons. It was the first general election at the end of a fixed-term Parliament. Local elections took place in most areas on the same day.

Polls and commentators had predicted the outcome would be too close to call and would result in a second hung parliament similar to the 2010 election. Opinion polls were eventually proven to have underestimated the Conservative vote as the party unexpectedly won an outright majority, which bore resemblance to its victory at the 1992 general election. Having governed in coalition with the Liberal Democrats since 2010, the Conservatives won 330 seats and 36.9% of the vote, this time winning a working majority of twelve seats.

The British Polling Council began an inquiry into the substantial variance between opinion polls and the actual result. Forming the first Conservative majority government since 1992, David Cameron became the first Prime Minister to continue in office immediately after a term of at least four years with a larger popular vote share since 1900, and the only Prime Minister other than Margaret Thatcher to continue in office immediately after a term of at least four years with a greater number of seats. The Labour Party, led by Ed Miliband, saw a small increase in its share of the vote to 30.4%, but incurred a net loss of seats to return 232 MPs. This was its lowest seat tally since the 1987 general election. Senior Labour Shadow Cabinet members, notably Ed Balls, Douglas Alexander, and Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy, were defeated.

The Scottish National Party, enjoying a surge in support since the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, recorded a number of huge swings of over 30% (including a record-breaking swing of 39.3% achieved in Glasgow North East) from Labour, as it won 56 of the 59 Scottish seats to become the third-largest party in the Commons. The Liberal Democrats, led by outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, had their worst result since their formation in 1988, holding just eight out of their previous 57 seats with Cabinet ministers Vince Cable, Ed Davey and Danny Alexander losing their seats. UKIP came third in terms of votes with 12.6%, but only won one seat, with party leader Nigel Farage failing to win the seat of South Thanet. The Green Party won its highest-ever share of the vote with 3.8%, and retained the Brighton Pavilion seat with an increased majority, though did not win any additional seats. Labour's Miliband (as national leader) and Murphy (as Scottish leader) both resigned, as did Clegg. Farage said that his resignation was rejected by his party, and he remained in post.In Northern Ireland, the Ulster Unionist Party returned to the Commons with two MPs after a five-year absence, while the Alliance Party lost its only seat despite an increase in total vote share.

The Conservative majority meant that Cameron was able to fulfil a manifesto commitment to renegotiate British membership of the European Union. That renegotiation was followed by a referendum in June 2016, which resulted in a majority of 51.9% voting to withdraw from the European Union, and led to the resignation of Cameron as Prime Minister.

Alan Carpenter

Alan John Carpenter (born 4 January 1957) is a former Australian politician who served as the 28th Premier of Western Australia, from 2006 to 2008. From Albany, Carpenter graduated from the University of Western Australia, and worked as a journalist before entering politics. A member of the Labor Party, he was first elected to the Legislative Assembly at the 1996 state election, representing the seat of Willagee. In the Gallop ministry, which took office following the 2001 election, Carpenter was Minister for Education (later Education and Training), as well as holding several other portfolios. He replaced Geoff Gallop as premier in January 2006, following Gallop's resignation, but Labor lost office following a hung parliament at the 2008 election, with Colin Barnett becoming premier as the leader of a minority Liberal Party government. Carpenter resigned from parliament in 2009, and currently holds a senior management position with Wesfarmers Limited.

Constitutional Democratic Party (Japan)

Rikken Minseitō (立憲民政党, Constitutional Democratic Party) was one of the main political parties in pre-war Empire of Japan. It was commonly known as the 'Minseitō'.

The Minseitō was founded on 1 June 1927, by a merger of the Kenseikai and the Seiyu Hontō political parties. Its leadership included Osachi Hamaguchi, Wakatsuki Reijirō, Yamamoto Tatsuo, Takejirō Tokonami, Adachi Kenzō, Koizumi Matajirō and Saitō Takao. The party platform was politically and economically more liberal than its major rival, the Rikken Seiyūkai, calling for rule by the Diet of Japan rather than bureaucrats or genrō, elimination of disparities in wealth, international cooperation, and protection of personal liberties. Its main base of support was the urban middle class, but its principal financial backing was the Mitsubishi zaibatsu.

The Minseitō fielded many candidates in the February 1928 General Election, (the first to be held after the General Election Law), winning 217 seats in the Lower House, as opposed to 218 seats for the Seiyūkai. This resulted in a hung parliament.

In the following 1930 General Election, the Minseitō took 273 seats, as opposed to 174 seats for the Seiyūkai, which gave it an absolute majority. Minseitō president Osachi Hamaguchi, Herbert Bix referred to him as Hamaguchi Yūkō, became Prime Minister. Hamaguchi’s first priority was to address the effects of the 1929 Stock Market Crash through retrenchment of government spending, tightening the money supply and encouraging exports while stabilizing foreign investments through returning to a fixed exchange rate.During its tenure, the Minseitō also advocated a conciliatory foreign policy, and ratified the London Naval Agreement of 1930. However, Hamaguchi fell victim to an assassination attempt on 14 November 1930 when he was shot in Tokyo Station by a member of an ultranationalist secret society. Wakatsuki Reijirō became acting Prime Minister, also from the Minseitō.

In 1931, Minseitō strongly opposed the Mukden Incident which was engineered by the Imperial Japanese Army. The anti-war Foreign Minister Kijūrō Shidehara and Prime Minister Reijirō came under strong criticism for their intervention in military affairs, and were accused of "serious corruption", and his government collapsed in 1931.

In the following 1932 General Election, some right-wing members defected to the Rikken Seiyūkai, which won an absolute majority of 301 seats. Seiyūkai president Inukai Tsuyoshi became prime minister.

The Minseitō was able to recover a very slight majority of 205 seats versus 175 seats for the Seiyūkai in the 1936 General Election only by adopting a more pro-military stance. However, the narrow margin again resulted in a hung parliament. The Minseitō dropped back down to 179 seats in the 1937 General Election, while the Seiyūkai retained all of its 175 seats, which continued the paralysis in the Diet of Japan.

On 15 August 1940 the Minseitō voted to dissolve itself into the Imperial Rule Assistance Association as part of Fumimaro Konoe's efforts to create a one-party state, and thereafter ceased to exist.

Division of Moreton

The Division of Moreton is an Australian Electoral Division in Queensland. The division was one of the original 65 divisions contested at the first federal election. It is named after Moreton Bay, and originally stretched from southern Brisbane all the way to the Gold Coast. While successive redistributions have left the seat completely landlocked, it has nonetheless retained the name of Moreton, mainly because the Australian Electoral Commission's guidelines on electoral redistributions require it to preserve the names of original electorates where possible.The seat was in the hands of the Liberal Party and its predecessors for 86 years before Labor regained it in 1990. From then until 2013, it was a bellwether seat, voting for the winning party in every election.

The seat is known for having decided the 1961 federal election. The Liberals only won the seat by 130 votes to give the Coalition a bare one-seat majority; had 93 Communist preferences gone the other way, it would have resulted in a hung parliament.

On its current boundaries, the seat is very multicultural, with significant Asian, South Eastern European, Arab and African population in the southern part of the electorate particularly in the suburbs of Sunnybank, Acacia Ridge, Kuraby and Moorooka.

Electoral district of Frankston East

Electoral district of Frankston East was an electoral district of the Legislative Assembly in the Australian state of Victoria. It was created in 1992, mostly out of the old Frankston North.

The seat is notable for having decided the 1999 state election, which proved to be the last election in which it was contested. The incumbent, Liberal-turned-independent Peter McLellan, died on election day, forcing a supplementary election a month later. Neither the Coalition nor Labor had won a majority, placing the balance of power in the hands of three independents. They deferred their decision until the supplementary election. In the 16 October supplementary election, Labor candidate Matt Viney won on a swing of 7.7 percent, resulting in a hung parliament. The independents then announced their support for Labor, making Labor leader Steve Bracks premier.

No overall control

In the context of local authorities in the United Kingdom, the term no overall control (abbreviated to NOC) refers to a situation in which no single political group achieves a majority of seats; and is analogous to a hung parliament. Of the 310 councils who had members up for election in the 2007 local elections, 85 (just over a quarter) resulted in a NOC administration.

Welsh Liberal Democrats

The Welsh Liberal Democrats (Welsh: Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru) is a political party in Wales and a member of the federal Liberal Democrats, along with the Scottish Liberal Democrats and the English Liberal Democrats.

They are led by Jane Dodds and hold 1 of the 60 seats in the National Assembly for Wales but none of the 40 Welsh seats in the UK House of Commons and none of the four Welsh seats in the European Parliament.

Mark Williams, then-Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, was defeated at the 2017 general election in his Ceredigion constituency by Ben Lake of Plaid Cymru, whose majority of 104 made the seat one of the most marginal in the country. The result left the party without an MP in Wales; the party and its predecessors had continuously held parliamentary seats in Wales since the formation of the Liberal Party in 1859.

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