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.

Coalitions and alliances

To deal with situations in parliamentary systems where no clear majority to support a government exists, two or more parties may establish a formal coalition government, commanding a clear majority of the parliamentary members, or a party might enter into less formal alliances or agreements with other parties, or individual members, to allow the minority government to stay in office.

A common situation is governance with "jumping majorities": the cabinet stays as long as it can negotiate support from a majority in the parliament, even though that majority may be differently formed from issue to issue or from bill to bill. On occasion the legislature may permit a minority cabinet to continue in office despite having been defeated on a given vote, and a minority government might even bring on a confidence vote and threaten to resign should the legislature vote against it.

An alternative arrangement is a looser alliance of parties, exemplified by Sweden. There the long-governing Social Democrats have ruled with more or less formal support from other parties – in the mid-20th century from Agrarians, after 1968 from Communists, and more recently from Greens and ex-Communists – and have thus been able to retain executive power and (in practice) legislative initiative. This is also common in Canada, where nine elections from 1921 to 2005 effectively produced minority federal governments. The parties can rarely cooperate enough to establish a formal coalition, but operate under a loose agreement instead.

Occasionally a confidence and supply agreement may be formed. This is a more formal pact which still falls short of creating a coalition government. In the Canadian province of Ontario, the Liberal Party formed a minority government from 1985 to 1987 on the basis of a formal accord with the New Democratic Party (NDP): the NDP agreed to support the Liberals for two years on all confidence motions and budgetary legislation, in exchange for the passage of certain legislative measures proposed by the NDP. This was not a formal coalition, because the NDP remained an opposition party and was not given seats in the cabinet. In this case the Liberals did not even have a plurality of seats: the Progressive Conservatives were the largest single party with 52 seats, but the Liberals had 48 and the NDP had 25.

New Zealand's 48th Parliament operated with both a coalition and a looser agreement: the government was a coalition between the Labour Party and the Progressives, while United Future and New Zealand First had an agreement to support the government on confidence matters, while the Green Party abstained.

Simple plurality system

In most Westminster system nations, each constituency elects one member of parliament by simple plurality voting. This system heavily biases the vote towards increasing the number of seats of the top two parties and reducing the seats of smaller parties, a principle known in political science as Duverger's law, and thus minority governments are relatively uncommon. Advocates of this system see this as one of its advantages. A party with less than 40% of the popular vote can often win an outright majority of the seats. (For instance, in the 2005 UK General Election, the governing Labour party won by a majority of 66 seats in the House of Commons with only 35.2% of the popular vote.) If support for some parties is regionally concentrated, however, then Duverger's law applies separately to each region, and so it is quite possible for no party to be sufficiently dominant in each region so as to receive a majority of the seats. This was the situation in Canada in the 2004, 2006, and 2008 federal elections, with no party obtaining a majority due in part to the dominance of the Bloc Québécois in the province of Quebec.

In Westminster systems, in minority situations, the incumbent government usually has the first opportunity to attempt to win the confidence of the House. This is so even if the incumbents have fewer seats – the incumbent prime minister still holds his or her commission for the duration of the writ period and immediately following an election. If (s)he cannot form a government that commands the confidence of the House then it is expected that (s)he will resign that commission voluntarily – it is not considered acceptable for the Sovereign (or her representative) to revoke said commission unless the prime minister was acting in serious breach of constitutional protocol. Nevertheless, usually an incumbent government that loses its plurality in the House simply resigns, especially if the main opposition party is only a few seats short of having a majority or if it feels it has no chance of winning the support of enough members of smaller parties to win an initial confidence vote.

Nevertheless, the now-common practice of the party with the most seats forming the government has led to a widespread misconception among voters that a convention exists whereby the party with the most seats always gets to form the government. In fact, the most compelling reason for this practice is that the party with the most seats can survive confidence votes so long as the smaller party (or parties) simply abstain from confidence votes, whereas a governing party without a plurality in the House needs at least one other party to vote with it at all times (assuming the largest party will always vote no confidence, but that is almost certain to occur when they are denied the opportunity to govern). This means that in most situations, the party with the most seats has the best chance and the least complicated route to winning a confidence vote, regardless of its place on the political spectrum. At the Canadian federal level, in the four most recent of the five occasions a governing party lost the plurality without another winning a majority (1957, 1963, 1979, and 2006) the incumbent governments resigned rather than attempt to stay in power.

Whatever party forms the government must either form a coalition with one or more other parties, or they must win some form of support from the other parties or independents so as to avoid no-confidence motions. Because of no-confidence motions, minority governments are frequently short-lived or fall before their term is expired. The leader of a minority government will also often call an election in hopes of winning a stronger mandate from the electorate. In Canada, for instance, federal minority governments last an average of 18 months.

United Kingdom

There have been few occasions since 1900 when a single party has not commanded a parliamentary majority. The 2010–2015 Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government was the first of its type in Britain since the National Government between 1931 and 1945.

The Labour Party, led by Harold Wilson, formed a minority government for seven months after the General Election of February 1974. That situation lasted until the prime minister called another election in October that year, following which the Labour Government obtained a tiny majority of three.[1]

The following administration also became a minority government after the collapse of the Lib–Lab pact in 1977, and the then British Prime Minister James Callaghan's Government fell in March 1979 as the result of a vote of no confidence which was carried by a single vote.

A minority Government held power in the UK between December 1996 and the general election in May 1997. The Conservative Party, led by John Major, had won the 1992 General Election with an absolute majority of 21 seats over all other parties. That majority was progressively whittled away through defections and by-elections defeats, the most notable of the latter including those in Newbury, South East Staffordshire and Wirral South, resulting in the eventual loss of the Major government's majority in Parliament. However, the Conservatives maintained support from Northern Ireland's Ulster Unionist Party and Democratic Unionist Party.

Westminster and the British media tend to perceive minority governments as unstable and ineffective, possibly because recent examples of minority governments (Callaghan and Major) occurred as the result of governments in decline.[2]

In the 2010 General Election, the Conservatives won the most seats and votes, but only a minority of seats in parliament. There was some discussion after the election of the possibility of creating a Conservative minority government and, because the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown had the first opportunity to form a government, there were also talks about creating some sort of alliance between the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats and other smaller parties. However Brown waived his right, acknowledging that because the Conservative Party had won the largest number of seats in the House of Commons, it should have the first opportunity to form a government. Further discussions then led to the establishment of a formal coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, which enabled the formation of a majority government, because it was thought that would ensure more stability.

In the 2017 General Election, the Conservatives won the most seats and votes, but lost their majority in the House of Commons. The Conservative Party, led by Theresa May, formed a minority government, with 317 seats, on 9 June 2017. On 10 June, the Prime Minister's Office announced a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party which would see the DUP support the Conservative government on a confidence and supply arrangement.[3] However, the DUP later announced that no such deal had been reached.[4] This remained the case until 26 June 2017, when a deal was agreed and announced between the two parties.[5]

Scotland

After the 2007 parliamentary elections, the Scottish National Party led by Alex Salmond constituted a minority government in the Scottish Parliament. This was because the SNP gained 47 seats out of 129 in the election, which was some way short of achieving an absolute majority of seats in the Scottish Parliament, but more than any other single party gained. The SNP were unable to negotiate a majority coalition government with any other party, but as no other combination of parties were able to agree a deal, the SNP chose to form a one-party minority government, with confidence and supply support from the Scottish Green Party and the Scottish Conservative Party.

Wales

After the 2007 Assembly elections, the Welsh Labour Party led by Rhodri Morgan initially formed a minority government in the Welsh Assembly. This was because they gained 26 seats in the election, which was short of an absolute majority of seats in the Assembly. Whilst Labour were initially unable to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, a 'Rainbow Coalition' of the Conservative Party (UK), Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru failed to come to fruition. However, on 6 July 2007, Welsh Labour Party members voted for a coalition with Plaid, which was followed by a similar result from Plaid Cymru members the next day. As a result, the Welsh Assembly was controlled by the Labour-Plaid alliance with Rhodri Morgan as First Minister (up until his retirement in 2009 and subsequent replacement by Carwyn Jones as First Minister) and Plaid Leader Ieuan Wyn Jones as his deputy. After the 2011 Welsh General Election, Welsh Labour won 30 seats and entered into a new government, with a minority of 0. In 2016 Welsh Labour returned with 29 seats out of 30 and formed a minority government of 0 with the one remaining Liberal Democrat AM.

Canada

During the history of Canadian politics there have been twelve minority governments on the federal level, in eleven separate minority parliaments (there were two minority governments during the life of 15th Parliament). One of these minorities, the 14th Parliament, was only a minority for half of its duration owing to floor-crossings and by-elections. The tenth and eleventh were elected twice in Canadian federal elections of 2006 and again in the 2008 election. There have also been numerous minority governments in provincial legislatures, particularly in provinces such as Ontario where there are strong third parties.

At the federal level, the party which has won the most seats in a general election has formed the government in all but the 15th Parliament.[6] There have also been instances of parties which did not win a plurality forming the government at the provincial level (notably under David Peterson). For information about minority governments at both the federal and provincial levels see Minority governments in Canada.

Denmark

Since 1982 most of the coalition government in Denmark are in minority, that the minority government coalition need to make deals and reach support with the opposition parties.

Estonia

Estonia has had several minority governments. A minority cabinet can occur:

  1. when the governing coalition loses support due to a coalition member leaving the governing coalition (Vähi II and Ansip II cabinets);
  2. when MPs leave party factions (Ratas cabinet);
  3. when a minority government is appointed with additional parliamentary support (Tõnisson IV, Vähi Interim, Siimann and Kallas cabinets); or
  4. when the government is voted into office with a plurality and some MPs abstain from voting (Birk, Tõnisson II, Piip and Akel cabinets).

Additional support is possible also because MPs leaving a party faction are not allowed to officially join another faction until the next elections. A government can be a minority government either throughout its term or just a part of its term, usually the latter. A list of minority cabinets:

Netherlands

Coalitions in the Netherlands are formed with the support from parliamentary parties, elected by proportional representation. Although very rare, minority governments can be formed during the formation period of a Dutch cabinet, if an election result makes a majority coalition impossible. More often, a minority government is formed when one of the cabinet's coalition partners withdraws its support, or when all ministers of a given parliamentary party resign. In these cases, the Prime Minister offers the full cabinet's resignation to the Dutch Monarch.

At this point, the Monarch may choose to dissolve Parliament and hold a general election. The cabinet continues to serve as demissionary. A demissionary cabinet is not a minority government but a form of caretaker government, enjoying only limited powers until the new Parliament assembles.

If the Monarch does not dissolve Parliament, the remaining cabinet continues as a minority cabinet, in full possession of its powers. It can finish any legislation already before underpreparation, if Parliament passes it by majority vote; this necessitates the support of parties outside the government. Theoretically, early general elections need not be held, but they are often necessary in practice, since the coalition agreement no longer has parliamentary support.

A third option is available to the Monarch: the formation of a new cabinet of different Parliamentary parties (which may include the defecting coalition partner). Elections are then held as scheduled at the end of the parliamentary term, since the Monarch does not dissolve parliament if an informateur has been able to negotiate a new coalition agreement.

The Netherlands had a minority government in 2010–2012: the First Rutte cabinet. The Second Rutte cabinet (2012–2017) consisted of the conservative liberal VVD and the social-democratic PvdA and had a majority in the House of Representatives, but a plurality in the Senate. On 11 October 2013, the cabinet reached a budgetary agreement with the social-liberal D66 and the smaller Christian parties CU and SGP. This provided the VVD/PvdA cabinet a single-seat majority in the Senate (see also: Purple (government)).

Republic of Ireland

The Irish parliamentary system broadly works on a simple majority system, where the Taoiseach is elected by the Dáil when they achieve 50% + 1 of the votes in favour of their nomination. The Taoiseach then appoints his or her own cabinet. Until the 1980s, Irish politics was dominated by two parties, either of whom could achieve a simple majority of seats in the Dáil and therefore elect their party leader as Taoiseach. Since the 1980s, the popularity of other parties has increased such that coalition governments are now typical and expected, with one of the two major parties being the "Senior" partner, and with one or more "Junior" partners ensuring that the coalition retains a majority in the Dáil.

A minority government is formed when a party (or a coalition) secures agreement from one or more other parties or independents to support their nomination for Taoiseach and achieve majority support, but without any formal coalition agreement with the parties who supported the nomination. Support for bills and other items requiring a Dáil majority vote is then negotiated on a bill-by-bill basis.

In the event that no agreement can be reached to nominate an individual to lead a minority government, the previous Taoiseach (acting in a caretaker capacity) can then seek dissolution of the Dáil and call a new general election. However, this scenario has not yet occurred.

The last Dáil with a single-party simple majority government was in 1977. Minority governments have been relatively common in the short history of the Dáil, making up 14 of the 32 governments (44%) formed since the Dáil was founded, most were formed by the Fianna Fáil.

The period of 1987–2016 (29 years) is the longest that there has not been a minority government in charge.

Sweden

Sweden had several minority governments in history, most of the time led by the Swedish Social Democratic Party, with the support of the Socialist Left Party. Centre-right Alliance which led by Moderate Party formed a minority coalition government from 2010 to 2014. The recent minority government is led by the Social Democrats and Greens, which only have one-third of seats.

List of current minority governments

Country Prime Minister/President Parties Seats
Government Support Total
Argentina Argentina Mauricio Macri Cambiemos 108 42.0% 0 108/257 42.0%
Armenia Armenia Nikol Pashinyan YELQ - PAP - ARF 47 44.8% 6 53/105 50.5%
Australia Australia Scott Morrison LP - NP - LNP - CLP 45 30% 0 73/150 48.7%
Belgium Belgium Charles Michel MR - CD&V - Open VLD 52 34.7% 33 85/150 56.7%
Chile Chile Sebastián Piñera UDI - RN - EVOPOLI 72 46.5% 0 72/155 46.5%
Croatia Croatia Andrej Plenković HDZ - HNS 60 39.7% 16 76/151 50.3%
Cyprus Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades DISY 18 32.1% 0 18/56 32.1%
Czech Republic Czech Republic Andrej Babiš ANO - ČSSD 93 46.5% 15 108/200 54.0%
Denmark Denmark Lars Løkke Rasmussen V - I - C 53 29.6% 38 91/179 50.8%
Estonia Estonia Jüri Ratas KE - SDE - ISA 50 49.5% 0 50/101 49.5%
Greece Greece Alexis Tsipras Syriza 145 48.3% 6 151/300 50,3%
Republic of Ireland Ireland Leo Varadkar FG - IA 57 36.1% 44 101/158 63.9%
Kosovo Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj PDK - AAK - NISMA 52 43.3% 0 52/120 43.3%
Lithuania Lithuania Saulius Skvernelis LVŽS - LSDDP 66 46.8% 0 66/141 46.8%
New Zealand New Zealand Jacinda Ardern Labour - NZ First 55 45.8% 8 63/120 52.5%
Peru Peru César Villanueva PPK 15 11.5% 0 15/130 11.5%
Portugal Portugal António Costa PS 86 37.4% 36 122/230 53.0%
Slovakia Slovakia Peter Pellegrini Smer-SD - SNS - Most 75 50.0% 4 79/150 52.7%
Slovenia Slovenia Marjan Šarec LMŠ - SD - SMC - SAB - DeSUS 43 47.8% 9 52/90 57.8%
South Korea South Korea Moon Jae-in Democratic 129 43.0% 0 129/300 43.0%
Spain Spain Pedro Sánchez PSOE 85 24.3% 96 181/350 51.7%
Sweden Sweden Stefan Löfven S - MP 116 33.2% 79 195/349 55.9%
United Kingdom United Kingdom Theresa May Conservatives 316 48.6% 10 326/643 50.7%

See also

References

  1. ^ "BBC Politics 97". BBC News.
  2. ^ "Making Minority Government Work : Hung Parliaments and the challenges for Westminster and Whitehall" (PDF). 7 December 2009.
  3. ^ Malnick, Edward (10 June 2017). "DUP to support minority government after 'confidence and supply' deal reached". The Telegraph. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  4. ^ Savage, Michael; McDonald, Henry (11 June 2017). "Theresa May's plan to govern with DUP support thrown into confusion". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  5. ^ Asthana, Anushka; McDonald, Henry; Carrell, Severin (26 June 2017). "Theresa May faces backlash from Scotland and Wales over £1bn Tory-DUP deal" – via The Guardian.
  6. ^ "Minority Government". www.canadaonline.about.com.

External links

1852 United Kingdom general election

The 1852 United Kingdom general election was a watershed in the formation of the modern political parties of Britain. Following 1852, the Tory/Conservative party became, more completely, the party of the rural aristocracy, while the Whig/Liberal party became the party of the rising urban bourgeoisie in Britain. The results of the election were extremely close in terms of both the popular vote and the numbers of seats won by the two main parties.

As in the previous election of 1847, Lord John Russell's Whigs won the popular vote, but the Conservative Party won a very slight majority of the seats. However, a split between Protectionist Tories, led by the Earl of Derby, and the Peelites made the formation of a majority government very difficult. Lord Derby's minority, protectionist government ruled from 23 February until 17 December 1852. Derby appointed Benjamin Disraeli as Chancellor of the Exchequer in this minority government. However, in December 1852, Derby's government collapsed because of issues arising out of the budget introduced by Disraeli. A Peelite–Whig coalition government was then formed under Lord Aberdeen, one of the leading Peelites. Although the immediate issue involved in this vote of "no confidence" which caused the downfall of the Derby minority government was the budget, the real underlying issue was repeal of the Corn Laws which Parliament had passed in June 1846.

1903 Australian federal election

Federal elections were held in Australia on 16 December 1903. All 75 seats in the House of Representatives, and 19 of the 36 seats in the Senate were up for election. The incumbent Protectionist Party minority government led by Prime Minister Alfred Deakin retained the most House of Representatives seats of the three parties and retained government with the parliamentary support of the Labour Party led by Chris Watson. The Free Trade Party led by George Reid remained in opposition.

The election outcome saw a finely balanced House of Representatives, with the three parties each holding around a third of seats − the Protectionists on 26 (−5), the Free Traders on 24 (−4) and Labour on 22 (+7). This term of parliament saw no changes in any party leadership but did see very significant and prolonged debates on contentious issues − the Protectionist minority government fell in April 1904 to Labour, while the Labour minority government fell in August 1904 to the Free Traders, while the Free Trader minority government fell in July 1905 back to the Protectionists, which continued until the 1906 election and beyond. The Free Traders remained in opposition throughout this eventful period with the exception of Labour forming the opposition for the first time during the period of the Free Trader minority government. Additionally, the Watson government was the world's first Labour Party government at a national level.

Despite a break in prime ministerships in 1904-05 and 1908-09, this is the first of three consecutive elections in which Deakin was the sitting prime minister.

1906 Australian federal election

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.

1925 Canadian federal election

The Canadian federal election of 1925 was held on October 29 to elect members of the House of Commons of Canada of the 15th Parliament of Canada. Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King's Liberal Party formed a minority government. This precipitated the "King–Byng Affair".

The Liberals under Mackenzie King won fewer seats than Arthur Meighen's Conservatives. A third party, the Progressives, which had nominated candidates for the first time in the 1921 election, held the balance of the seats. King decided to hold on to power with the help of the Progressives. The Progressives were closely aligned with the Liberals, and enabled King to form a minority government.

This plan was complicated by the fact that his party won fewer seats than the Conservatives, and that King himself had lost his seat in the House of Commons. Meighen was outraged by King's move, and demanded that King resign from the Prime Minister's office. King asked a Liberal Member of Parliament from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan to resign so that he could run in the resulting by-election. Prince Albert was one of the safest seats in Canada for the Liberals, and King won easily.

With King back in Parliament, a huge scandal rocked the King cabinet when one of his appointees was discovered to be accepting bribes. Anticipating a vote of censure by the Commons, King asked the Governor General, Baron Byng of Vimy, to call an election. The Governor General refused, and King resigned on June 28, 1926. Meighen was then invited to form a government.

King claimed this was interference in Canadian politics by an official appointed by a foreign power. King showed rare fire, and rallied the Progressives back into his camp. He defeated Meighen on a vote of confidence after only three days, making the Meighen government of 1926 the shortest lived government in Canadian history. This time, Byng called an election.

1934 Madras Presidency Legislative Council election

In the fifth legislative council election to Madras Presidency after the establishment of dyarchical system of government by the Government of India Act, 1919 the ruling Justice party lost the election and the opposition Swaraj Party emerged as the single largest party. However, it refused to form the government, due to its opposition to dyarchy. The incumbent chief minister, Raja of Bobbili retained power and formed a minority government.

1940 Australian federal election

Federal elections were held in Australia on 21 September 1940. All 74 seats in the House of Representatives and 19 of the 36 seats in the Senate were up for election. The incumbent Coalition, consisting of the United Australia Party led by Prime Minister Robert Menzies and the Country Party led by Archie Cameron, defeated the opposition Labor Party under John Curtin.

The Coalition had won 36 seats, two short of a majority, but formed a government on 28 October 1940 with the support of both independent crossbenchers, Alexander Wilson and Arthur Coles. The four MPs elected to Lang Labor's successor, the Australian Labor Party (Non-Communist), officially re-joined the ALP just months after the election in February 1941, bringing the ALP seat tally up to 36. The UAP–Country minority government lasted only until October 1941, when the two independents crossed the floor and allowed the ALP to form a minority government with Curtin as prime minister. It remains the only time since the 1910 introduction of an elected two-party system where the government changed as the result of a parliamentary confidence vote.

Future opposition leaders H.V. Evatt and Arthur Calwell both entered parliament at this election.

1945 Canadian federal election

The Canadian federal election of 1945 was the 20th general election in Canadian history. It was held June 11, 1945 to elect members of the House of Commons of Canada of the 20th Parliament of Canada. Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King's Liberal government was re-elected to its third consecutive government, although this time with a minority government as the Liberals fell five seats short of a majority.

Although the election officially resulted in a minority government, the election of eight "Independent Liberal" MPs, most of whom did not run as official Liberals because of their opposition to conscription (see Conscription Crisis of 1944), gave the King government an effective working majority in parliament. Most of the Independent Liberal MPs joined (or re-joined) the Liberal caucus following World War II when the conscription issue became moot. As King was defeated in his own riding of Prince Albert, fellow Liberal William MacDiarmid, who was re-elected in the safe seat of Glengarry, resigned so that a by-election could be held, which was subsequently won by King.

The federal election was the first since the victory of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation in the Saskatchewan provincial election, and many predicted a major breakthrough for the CCF nationally. A Gallup poll from September 1943 showed the CCF with a one-point lead over both the Liberals and Conservatives. The party was expected to win 70 to 100 seats, possibly even enough to form a minority government. Despite the expectations, the party only won 28 seats.

1945 was also the first test of the newly named Progressive Conservatives. The Conservative Party had changed its name in 1942 when former Progressive Party Premier of Manitoba John Bracken became its leader. The party improved its standing in terms of number of seats compared to the old Conservative Party, but also recorded a reduced share of the popular vote (indeed, the lowest in any election prior to 1993) and fell far short of challenging Liberal hegemony. Operation Downfall, the invasion of Japan, was scheduled for late 1945-early 1946. Bracken had promised conscription for the invasion of Japan whereas King had promised to commit one division of volunteers to the planned invasion of Japan. Based on the way that the Japanese had fought the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa it was widely expected that the invasion of the Japanese home islands would be a bloody campaign, and Bracken's promise of conscription for the planned invasion of Japan did much to turn voters against his party.A key issue in this election seems to have been electing a stable government. The Liberals urged voters to "Return the Mackenzie King Government", and argued that only the Liberal Party had a "preponderance of members in all nine provinces". Mackenzie King threatened to call a new election if he was not given a majority: "We would have confusion to deal with at a time when the world will be in a very disturbed situation. The war in Europe is over, but unrest in the east is not over."

The Progressive Conservatives tried to capitalize on the massive mid-campaign victory by the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party in the 1945 Ontario provincial election. PC campaign ads exhorted voters to rally behind their party: "Ontario shows! Only Bracken can win!", and suggesting that it would be impossible to form a majority government in the country without a plurality of seats in Ontario, which only the Tories could win. In the event, the Liberals fell just short of a majority even though they won only 34 seats in Ontario to the PCs' 48 seats. Eight "Independent Liberal" MPs could be expected to support the government.

Social welfare programs were also an issue in the campaign. Another Liberal slogan encouraged voters to "Build a New Social Order" by endorsing the Liberal platform, which included

$750 million to provide land, jobs and business support for veterans;

$400 million of public spending to build housing;

$250 million for family allowances;

establishing an Industrial development Bank;

loans to farmers, floor prices for agricultural products;

tax reductions.Campaigning under the slogan, "Work, Security, and Freedom for All -- with the CCF", the CCF promised to retain war-time taxes on high incomes and excess profits in order to fund social services, and to abolish the Senate of Canada. The CCF fought hard to prevent the support of labour from going to the Labor-Progressive Party (i.e., the Communist Party of Canada).

The LPP, for its part, pointed out that the CCF's refusal to enter into an electoral pact with the LPP had cost the CCF 100,000 votes in the Ontario election, and had given victory to the Ontario PCs. It urged voters to "Make Labour a Partner in Government."

The Social Credit Party of Canada tried, with modest success, to capitalize on the positive image of the Alberta Socred government of William Aberhart, asking voters, "Good Government in Alberta -- Why Not at Ottawa?". Referring to social credit monetary theories, the party encouraged voters to "Vote for the National Dividend".

1973 Danish general election

General elections were held in Denmark on 4 December 1973 and in the Faroe Islands on 13 December. It has since been referred to as the Landslide Election (Danish: Jordskredsvalget), as five new or previously unrepresented parties won seats, and more than half the members of the parliament were replaced. The Social Democratic Party, which had led a minority government until this election, lost a third of their seats. After the election Poul Hartling, the leader of the liberal Venstre, formed the smallest minority government in Denmark's history with only 22 seats, supported by the Progress Party, the Conservative People's Party, the Social Liberal Party, the Centre Democrats and the Christian People's Party.

Voter turnout was 88.7% in Denmark proper, 54.6% in the Faroe Islands and 66.0% in Greenland.

1985 Ontario general election

The Ontario general election of 1985 was held on May 2, 1985, to elect members of the 33rd Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, Canada. The Progressive Conservatives won the most seats, but not a majority. Shortly after, the Progressive Conservatives' 42 years of governance in Ontario came to an end via a confidence vote defeating Premier Frank Miller's minority government. David Peterson's Liberals then formed a minority government with the support of Bob Rae's NDP.

1991 Indian general election

General elections were held in India in 1991 to elect the members of the 10th Lok Sabha. The result of the election was that no party could get a majority, so a minority government (Indian National Congress with the help of left parties) was formed, resulting in a stable government for the next 5 years, under the new Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao.

2006 Canadian federal election

The 2006 Canadian federal election (more formally, the 39th General Election) was held on January 23, 2006, to elect members of the House of Commons of Canada of the 39th Parliament of Canada. The Conservative Party of Canada won the greatest number of seats: 40.3% of seats, or 124 out of 308, up from 99 seats in 2004, and 36.3% of votes: up from 29.6% in the 2004 election.The election resulted in a minority government led by the Conservative Party with Stephen Harper becoming the 22nd Prime Minister of Canada. By proportion of seats, this was Canada's smallest minority government since Confederation. Despite this it was the longest-serving minority government overall.

Voter turnout was 64.7%.An investigation by Elections Canada into improper election spending by the Conservative Party became widely known as the In and Out scandal. Charges were eventually dropped in a plea deal.

2017 British Columbia general election

The 41st British Columbia general election was held on May 9, 2017, to elect 87 members (MLAs) to the Legislative Assembly to serve in the 41st Parliament of the Canadian province of British Columbia. Several weeks after the election, the BC New Democratic Party (NDP), which had won 41 seats under new leader John Horgan, formed a minority government with the support of the Green Party's three seats under new leader Andrew Weaver. The NDP had won a slightly smaller share of the popular vote than the BC Liberal Party, which had won 43 seats under leader Christy Clark, who had been premier since 2011. Horgan became the new premier, while Weaver and the other Green MLAs did not join the Cabinet or take any official roles in the new government.

The election took place soon after Clark formally advised Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon to dissolve the Legislative Assembly. It was the first election contested on a new electoral map completed in 2015, and the total number of constituencies had increased from 85 to 87. New districts were added in Richmond and Surrey, while the boundaries to 48 existing electoral districts were adjusted.The election was notable in that it marked the province's first non-majority legislature since the 1952 election, the end of the Liberal majority government that had led the province since the 2001 election, and the first election in Canada at the federal or provincial level that saw more than one member of a Green party elected.After May 9, it was not immediately clear what form the government would take, as Elections BC does not count absentee ballots until two weeks after election day. This final count would determine the makeup of the legislature, since several seats were won with margins of a few hundred votes or less, and both the Liberals and NDP hoped to acquire enough seats to secure a majority. No seats changed hands, however, after the counting of absentee ballots concluded on May 24, and the initial count of 43–41–3 was confirmed.As no single party won a majority of seats, the Green Party was approached by both the BC Liberals and BC NDP to determine whether they would support a minority government or a coalition government headed by either party. No grand coalition or agreement between the two large parties, excluding the Greens, was seriously considered. On May 29, Horgan and Weaver announced that the Greens would provide confidence and supply to an NDP minority government, a position which was endorsed the following day by the members of both caucuses. In response, Clark indicated that she would have the legislature sit in the coming weeks and seek its confidence in a Liberal minority government, while acknowledging that she would likely be unsuccessful. The legislature convened on June 22. On June 29, the Liberals were defeated in a confidence vote; Clark then resigned and asked Guichon to dissolve the Legislature and call a new election. Guichon refused, and invited Horgan to form an NDP minority government.

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.

Balance of power (parliament)

In parliamentary politics, the term balance of power may describe a parliamentary situation in which a member or a number of members of chamber are in a position by their uncommitted vote to enable a party to attain and remain in minority government, and the term may also be applied to the members who hold that position. The members holding the balance of power may guarantee their support for a government by either joining it in a coalition government or by an assurance that they will vote against any motion of no confidence in the government or abstain in such a vote. In return for such a commitment, such persons may demand legislative or policy commitments from the party they are to support. A person or party may also hold a balance of power in a chamber without any commitment to government, in which case both the government and opposition groupings may on occasion need to negotiate that person's legislative support.

Confidence and supply

In a parliamentary democracy based on the Westminster system, confidence and supply are required for a minority government to retain power in the lower house.

A confidence-and-supply agreement is one whereby a party or independent members of parliament will support the government in motions of confidence and appropriation or budget (supply) votes, by either voting in favour or abstaining. However, parties and independent members normally retain the right to otherwise vote in favour of their own policies or on conscience on legislative bills.A coalition government is a more formal arrangement than a confidence-and-supply agreement, in that members from junior parties (i.e. parties other than the largest) gain positions in the cabinet, ministerial roles and may be expected to hold the government whip on passing legislation.

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, or as a legislature under no overall control, 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.

Majority government

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.

Minority governments in Canada

In Canada's parliamentary system of responsible government, minority governments occur when no party has a majority of seats in the legislature. Typically, but not necessarily, the party with a plurality of seats forms the government. In a minority situation, governments must rely on the support of other parties to stay in power, providing less stability than a majority government. In Canada, political parties rarely form official coalition governments to form a majority.

Canada's plurality voting system means that minority governments are relatively rare in comparison with countries that have a proportional representation voting system. There have, however, been several minority governments at the federal level and in nine of Canada's 10 provinces at various times.

Coalition spectrum

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