A majority government refers to one or multiple governing parties that hold an absolute majority of seats in legislature. This is as opposed to a minority government, where the largest party in a legislature only has a plurality of seats.
A majority government is usually assured of having its legislation passed and rarely, if ever, has to fear being defeated in parliament. In contrast, a minority government must constantly bargain for support from other parties in order to pass legislation and avoid being defeated on motions of no confidence.
The term "majority government" may also be used for a stable coalition of two or more parties to form an absolute majority. One example of such an electoral coalition is in Australia, where the Liberal and National parties have run as an electoral bloc for decades.
Another example was the 2010-2015 coalition government in the United Kingdom, which was composed of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties. The Conservatives won the most seats of any single party in the 2010 election, but fell short of an absolute majority. However, by combining with the Liberal Democrats a solid majority in the House of Commons was created. This was the first true coalition government in the UK since World War II.
Federal elections were held in Australia on 12 December 1906. All 75 seats in the House of Representatives, and 18 of the 36 seats in the Senate were up for election. The incumbent Protectionist Party minority government led by Prime Minister Alfred Deakin retained government, despite winning the fewest House of Representatives votes and seats of the three parties. Parliamentary support was provided by the Labour Party led by Chris Watson, while the Anti-Socialist Party (renamed from the Free Trade Party), led by George Reid, remained in opposition.
Watson resigned as Labour leader in October 1907 and was replaced by Andrew Fisher. The Protectionist minority government fell in November 1908 to Labour, a few days before Reid resigned as Anti-Socialist leader, who was replaced by Joseph Cook. The Labour minority government fell in June 1909 to the newly formed Commonwealth Liberal Party led by Deakin. The party was formed on a shared anti-Labour platform as a merger between Deakin, leader of the Protectionists, and Cook, leader of the Anti-Socialists, in order to counter Labour's growing popularity. The merger didn't sit well with several of the more progressive Protectionists, who defected to Labour or sat as independents.
The merger would allow the Deakin Commonwealth Liberals to construct a mid-term parliamentary majority, however less than a year later at the 1910 election, Labour won both majority government and a Senate majority, representing a number of firsts: it was Australia's first elected federal majority government, Australia's first elected Senate majority, the world's first Labour Party majority government at a national level, and after the 1904 Watson minority government the world's second Labour Party government at a national level. The 113 acts passed in the second Fisher government (1910–13) exceeded even the output of the second Deakin government over a similar period. At the time, it represented the culmination of Labour's involvement in politics. It was a period of reform unmatched in the Commonwealth until the 1940s under John Curtin and Ben Chifley.1953 Canadian federal election
The Canadian federal election of 1953 was held on August 10 to elect members of the House of Commons of Canada of the 22nd Parliament of Canada. Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent led his Liberal Party of Canada to its fifth consecutive majority government, although the party lost seats to the other parties.
The Progressive Conservative Party, led by former Premier of Ontario, George Drew, formed the official opposition.1988 Canadian federal election
The 1988 Canadian federal election was held November 21, 1988, to elect members of the House of Commons of Canada of the 34th Parliament of Canada. It was an election largely fought on a single issue: the Canada–United States Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
Incumbent Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, had signed the agreement. The Liberal Party, led by John Turner, was opposed to the agreement, as was the New Democratic Party led by Ed Broadbent.
The Conservatives went into the election suffering from a number of scandals. Despite winning a large majority only four years before, they looked vulnerable at the outset.
The Liberals had some early struggles, notably during one day in Montreal where three different costs were given for the proposed Liberal daycare program. The campaign was also hampered by a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation report that stated there was a movement in the backroom to replace Turner with Jean Chrétien, even though Turner had passed a leadership review in 1986.
Support swung back and forth between the Conservatives and Liberals over free trade. With mid-campaign polls suggesting a Liberal government, this prompted the Conservatives to stop the relatively calm campaign they had been running, and go with Allan Gregg's suggestion of "bombing the bridge" that joined anti-FTA voters and the Liberals: Turner's credibility. The ads focused on Turner's leadership struggles, and combined with over $6 million CAD in pro-FTA ads, managed to stop the Liberals' momentum.
The Liberals reaped most of the benefits of opposing the FTA and doubled their representation to 83 seats to emerge as the main opposition; the NDP had also made gains but finished a distant third with 43 seats. The Progressive Conservatives won a reduced but strong majority government with 169 seats. Despite the Liberals' improved standing, the results were considered a disappointment for Turner, after polls in mid-campaign predicted a Liberal government. The election loss sealed Turner's fate and he eventually resigned in 1990, and was succeeded by Jean Chrétien.
Although most Canadians voted for parties opposed to free trade, the Tories were returned with a majority government, and implemented the deal.
Until the 2011 federal election, the 1988 election was the most successful in the New Democratic Party's history. The party dominated in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, won significant support in Ontario and elected its first (and, until the 2008 election, only) member from Alberta.
This was the second election contested by the Green Party, and it saw a more than 50% increase in its vote, but it remained a minor party.
The election was the last for Canada's Social Credit movement: the party won no seats, and had an insignificant portion of the popular vote.
The newly founded Reform Party also contested the election, but was considered little more than a fringe group, and did not win any seats.
For the Progressive Conservatives, this was the last federal election they would win.1996 British Columbia general election
The British Columbia general election of 1996 was the thirty sixth provincial election in the Province of British Columbia, Canada. It was held to elect members of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. The election was called on April 30, 1996, and held on May 28, 1996. Voter turnout was 59.1 per cent of all eligible voters. The election is notable for producing a "false-winner" outcome, rewarding a party that got second in the popular vote with a majority government.
New Democratic Party leader and provincial premier Mike Harcourt had resigned as the result of a fundraising scandal involving one of the members of his caucus. Glen Clark was chosen by the party to replace Harcourt. Clark led the party to a second majority government, defeating the Liberal Party of Gordon Campbell. Campbell had become leader of the Liberal Party after Gordon Wilson had been forced out of the position because of his relationship with another Liberal member of the legislature, Judi Tyabji.
After Wilson was defeated by Campbell in the convention to choose a new leader, he and Tyabji left the Liberal Party to establish the Progressive Democratic Alliance. Wilson was able to win re-election, but Tyabji was not, going down to defeat with all of the other candidates fielded by the new party.
The once-dominant Social Credit Party collapsed. It elected Grace McCarthy as its leader in 1993, but she was unable to make a bid to get into the legislature until 1994, when she lost a by-election in the longtime Socred stronghold of Matsqui. Soon afterward, four of its remaining six members defected to Reform BC, leaving Social Credit without official status in the legislature. One more seat was lost in a by-election, reducing the party's one representation to one MLA, Cliff Serwa. However, Serwa retired before the election, leaving the party with no incumbents. Party leader Larry Gillanders withdrew from the race while the campaign was in progress, saying that all right wing parties should unite to topple the ruling NDP. The Socreds won only 0.4 percent of the vote and were completely shut out of the legislature. While the party still nominally exists, it has never elected another MLA, and even lost its registration from 2013 to 2016.
Reform BC held on to two of its four seats.
Although the Liberals won a larger share of the popular vote, most of their votes were wasted in the outer regions of the province; they only won eight seats in the Vancouver area. This allowed the NDP to win 6 more seats than the opposition Liberals, eking out a majority government.2016 Australian federal election
The 2016 Australian federal election was a double dissolution election held on Saturday 2 July to elect all 226 members of the 45th Parliament of Australia, after an extended eight-week official campaign period. It was the first double dissolution election since the 1987 election and the first under a new voting system for the Senate that replaced group voting tickets with optional preferential voting.Unusually, the outcome could not be predicted the day after the election, with many close seats in doubt. After a week of vote counting, no party had won enough seats in the House of Representatives to form a majority government. Neither the Liberal/National Coalition's incumbent Turnbull Government nor the Australian Labor Party's Shorten Opposition were in a position to claim victory. During the uncertain week following the election, contradicting his earlier statements, Turnbull negotiated with the crossbench. He secured confidence and supply support from Bob Katter, Andrew Wilkie and Cathy McGowan in the event of a hung parliament and resulting minority government, as seen in 2010. On 10 July, Shorten conceded defeat, acknowledging that the Coalition had enough seats to form either minority or majority government. Turnbull claimed victory later that day. In the closest federal majority result since 1961, the ABC declared on 11 July that the Coalition could form a one-seat majority government.In the 150-seat House of Representatives, the one-term incumbent Coalition government was reelected with a reduced 76 seats, marking the first time since 2004 that a government had been reelected with an absolute majority. Labor picked up a significant number of previously government-held seats for a total of 69 seats, recovering much of what it had lost in its severe defeat of 2013. On the crossbench, the Greens, the Nick Xenophon Team, Katter's Australian Party, and independents Wilkie and McGowan won a seat each. For the first time since federation, the post-election opposition won more seats than the post-election government in the two most populous states, New South Wales and Victoria. One re-count was held by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) for the Division of Herbert, confirming that Labor won the seat by 37 votes.The final outcome in the 76-seat Senate took over four weeks to complete despite significant voting changes. Announced on 4 August, it revealed a reduced plurality of 30 seats for the Coalition, 26 for Labor, and a record 20 for crossbenchers including 9 Greens, 4 from One Nation and 3 from the Xenophon Team. Former broadcaster and Justice Party founder Derryn Hinch won a seat, while Jacqui Lambie, Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm and Family First's Bob Day retained theirs. The Coalition will require nine additional votes for a Senate majority, an increase of three. Both major parties agreed to allocate six-year terms to the first six senators elected in each state, while the last six would serve three-year terms. Labor and the Coalition each gained a six-year Senator at the expense of Hinch and the Greens, who criticised the major parties for rejecting the "recount" method despite supporting it in two bipartisan senate resolutions in 1998 and 2010.A number of initially-elected senators were declared ineligible a result of the 2017–18 Australian parliamentary eligibility crisis, and replaced after recounts.Australian Labor Party
The Australian Labor Party (ALP), commonly known as Labor, was historically spelt both as Labour and as Labor. The ALP, which adopted the formal name Australian Labour Party in 1908, but changed the spelling to Labor in 1912, is a major centre-left political party in Australia. The party has been in opposition at the federal level since the 2013 election. Bill Shorten has been the party's federal parliamentary leader since 13 October 2013. The party is a federal party with branches in each state and territory. Labor is in government in the states of Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, and in both the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory. The party competes against the Liberal/National Coalition for political office at the federal and state (and sometimes local) levels. It is the oldest political party in Australia.
Labor's constitution has long stated: "The Australian Labor Party is a democratic socialist party and has the objective of the democratic socialisation of industry, production, distribution and exchange, to the extent necessary to eliminate exploitation and other anti-social features in these fields". This "socialist objective" was introduced in 1921, but was later qualified by two further objectives: "maintenance of and support for a competitive non-monopolistic private sector" and "the right to own private property". Labor governments have not attempted the "democratic socialisation" of any industry since the 1940s, when the Chifley Government failed to nationalise the private banks, and in fact have privatised several industries such as aviation and banking. Labor's current National Platform describes the party as "a modern social democratic party".The ALP was not founded as a federal party until after the first sitting of the Australian Parliament in 1901. Nevertheless, it is regarded as descended from labour parties founded in the various Australian colonies by the emerging labour movement in Australia, formally beginning in 1891. Labor is thus the country's oldest political party. Colonial labour parties contested seats from 1891, and federal seats following Federation at the 1901 federal election. The ALP formed the world's first Labour Party government, as well as the world's first social democratic government at a national level. Labor was the first party in Australia to win a majority in either house of the Australian Parliament, at the 1910 federal election. The Australian Labor Party at both a federal and state/colony level predates, among others, both the British Labour Party and the New Zealand Labour Party in party formation, government, and policy implementation. Internationally, the ALP is a member of the Progressive Alliance network of social-democratic parties, having previously been a member of the Socialist International.Australian Labor Party (New South Wales Branch)
The Australian Labor Party (New South Wales Branch), also known as NSW Labor, is the New South Wales branch of the Australian Labor Party. The parliamentary leader is elected from and by the members of the party caucus, comprising all party members in the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council. The party factions have a strong influence on the election of the leader. The leader's position is dependent on the continuing support of the caucus (and party factions) and the leader may be deposed by failing to win a vote of confidence of parliamentary members. By convention, the premier sits in the Legislative Assembly, and is the leader of the party controlling a majority in that house. The party leader also typically is a member of the Assembly, though this is not a strict party constitutional requirement. Barrie Unsworth, for example, was elected party leader while a member of the Legislative Council. He then transferred to the Assembly by winning a seat at a by-election.
When the Labor party wins sufficient seats to be able to control a majority in the Legislative Assembly, the party leader becomes the State Premier and Labor will form the government. When Labor is the largest party not in government, the party leader becomes the Leader of the Opposition. To become a Premier or Opposition Leader, the party leader must be or within a short period of time become a member of the Legislative Assembly.Australian Labor Party (Queensland Branch)
The Australian Labor Party (Queensland Branch), commonly known as Queensland Labor is the Queensland branch of the Australian Labor Party.Australian Labor Party (South Australian Branch)
The Australian Labor Party (South Australian Branch), commonly known as South Australian Labor, is the South Australian Branch of the Australian Labor Party, originally formed in 1891 as the United Labor Party of South Australia. It is one of two major parties in the bicameral Parliament of South Australia, the other being the Liberal Party of Australia (SA Division).
Since the 1970 election, marking the beginning of democratic proportional representation (one vote, one value) and ending decades of pro-rural electoral malapportionment known as the Playmander, Labor have won 11 of the 15 elections. Spanning 16 years and 4 terms, Labor was last in government from the 2002 election until the 2018 election. Jay Weatherill led the Labor government since a 2011 leadership change from Mike Rann. During 2013 it became the longest-serving state Labor government in South Australian history, and in addition went on to win a fourth four-year term at the 2014 election.
Labor's most notable historic Premiers of South Australia include Thomas Price in the 1900s, Don Dunstan in the 1970s and John Bannon in the 1980s.Australian Labor Party (Tasmanian Branch)
The Australian Labor Party (Tasmanian Branch), commonly known as Tasmanian Labor is the Tasmanian branch of the Australian Labor Party.Australian Labor Party (Western Australian Branch)
The Australian Labor Party (Western Australian Branch), commonly known as WA Labor, is the Western Australian branch of the Australian Labor Party. It is the current governing party of Western Australia since winning the 2017 election under Mark McGowan.Liberal Party of Australia (Victorian Division)
The Liberal Party of Australia (Victorian Division) is the state division of the Liberal Party of Australia in Victoria.List of Prime Ministers of Canada by time in office
This article is a list of the prime ministers of Canada by their time in office. The list starts with Confederation on July 1, 1867, and the first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. It includes all prime ministers since then, up to the current prime minister, Justin Trudeau, the twenty-third to hold the office.Minority government
A minority government, or minority cabinet or minority parliament, is a cabinet formed in a parliamentary system when a political party or coalition of parties does not have a majority of overall seats in the parliament. It is sworn into office, with or without the formal support of other parties, to enable a government to be formed. Under such a government, legislation can only be passed with the support of enough other members of the legislature to provide a majority, encouraging multi-partisanship. In bicameral parliaments, the term relates to the situation in chamber whose confidence is considered most crucial to the continuance in office of the government (generally, the lower house).
A minority government tends to be much less stable than a majority government because if they can unite for the purpose, opposing parliamentary members have the numbers to vote against legislation, or even bring down the government with a vote of no confidence.New Democratic Party of Manitoba
The New Democratic Party of Manitoba (NDP; French: Nouveau Parti démocratique du Manitoba) is a social-democratic political party in Manitoba, Canada. It is the provincial wing of the federal New Democratic Party of Canada, and is a successor to the Manitoba Co-operative Commonwealth Federation. It is currently the opposition party in Manitoba.Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario
The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario (French: Parti progressiste-conservateur de l’Ontario), often shortened to Ontario PC Party, PC, or Conservatives, is a centre-right political party in Ontario, Canada. The party has been led by Premier Doug Ford since March 10, 2018.
It has governed the province for 80 of the 151 years since Confederation, including an uninterrupted run from 1943 to 1985. It currently holds a majority government in the 42nd Parliament of Ontario.Quebec Liberal Party
The Quebec Liberal Party (QLP, French: Parti libéral du Québec) is a federalist provincial political party in Quebec, Canada. It has been independent of the federal Liberal Party of Canada since 1955.
The party has traditionally supported a form of Quebec federalism that supports Quebec remaining within the Canadian federation while also supporting reforms that would allow Quebec substantial autonomy. While the party has been described as centrist in the context of Canadian politics, the party believes in a strong role for government in the economy and supports socially liberal policies. The party has a social-democratic faction which was especially prominent during the Quiet Revolution.The Quebec Liberals have always been associated with the colour red; each of their main opponents in different eras have been generally associated with the colour blue.Saskatchewan New Democratic Party
The Saskatchewan New Democratic Party (NDP) is a social-democratic political party in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. It currently forms the official opposition, but has been a dominant force in Saskatchewan politics since the 1940s. The party is the successor to the Saskatchewan section of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), and is affiliated with the federal New Democratic Party.Scottish National Party
The Scottish National Party (SNP; Scottish Gaelic: Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba, Scots: Scots Naitional Pairtie) is a Scottish nationalist and social-democratic political party in Scotland. The SNP supports and campaigns for Scottish independence. It is the second-largest political party by membership in the United Kingdom, behind the Labour Party and ahead of the Conservative Party; it is the third-largest by overall representation in the House of Commons, behind the Conservative Party and the Labour Party; and it is the largest political party in Scotland, where it has the most seats in the Scottish Parliament and 35 out of the 59 Scottish seats in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The current Scottish National Party leader, Nicola Sturgeon, has served as First Minister of Scotland since November 2014.
Founded in 1934 with the amalgamation of the National Party of Scotland and the Scottish Party, the party has had continuous parliamentary representation in Westminster since Winnie Ewing won the 1967 Hamilton by-election. With the establishment of the devolved Scottish Parliament in 1999, the SNP became the second-largest party, serving two terms as the opposition. The SNP gained power at the 2007 Scottish Parliament election, forming a minority government, before going on to win the 2011 Parliament election, after which it formed Holyrood's first majority government. It was reduced back to a minority government at the 2016 election.
The SNP is the largest political party in Scotland in terms of both seats in the Westminster and Holyrood parliaments, and membership, reaching 125,482 members as of August 2018, 35 MPs and over 400 local councillors. The SNP also currently has 2 MEPs in the European Parliament, who sit in The Greens/European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA) group. The SNP is a member of the European Free Alliance (EFA). The party does not have any members of the House of Lords, as it has always maintained a position of objecting to an unelected upper house.