14: Cabinets: Coalitions and Single-Party Governments Flashcards Preview

GV101: Political Science > 14: Cabinets: Coalitions and Single-Party Governments > Flashcards

Flashcards in 14: Cabinets: Coalitions and Single-Party Governments Deck (17):
1

Majority government

A government where the party/parties control a majority of seats in the parliament

2

Minority government

A government where the party/parties does not control a majority of seats in the parliament

3

Single-party government

A (minority or majority) government where 1 party has al the seats in the cabinet

4

coalition government

A (minority or majority) government where 2 or more parties have cabinet seats

5

Minimum-winning Coalition

A coalition government where there are no parties that are not required to control a legislative majority i.e. if one of the parties leaves the coalition, the government will NOT control a majority of seats

6

surplus majority coalition

A coalition government where at least one of the parties in the coalition is not required to control a legislative majority i.e. if that party leaves the coalition, the government will STILL control a majority of the seats. This can be useful because it stops small parties holding the other party in the coalition to ransom.

7

which cabinet types are most common

Minimal winning coalition: 29.7%
single-party minority: 24.8%
surplus majority coalition: 17.1%

8

which cabinet type lasts the longest

minimal winning coalition

9

What is the standard coalition formation process

1. An election is held
2. If a party controls a majority of seats, it forms the government
3. If no party controls a majority of seats, the largest party (usually) decides which government is best for its interests and it invited its favoured coalition partner(s) to form a cabinet
4. Coalition partners negotiate over cabinet seats and portfolios
5. The government takes office (sometimes with a vote of investiture), unless a different party can offer a better deal to the potential coalition partners
6. If the largest party cannot form a government within a certain time (e.g. 14 days), the second largest party becomes the forming government
7. If no majority coalition can be agreed within a certain period, then the largest party is invited to form a minority government

10

What is the formateur

The party in charge of forming the government

11

How many seats did the lib dems and the conservatives have in the 2010 coalition gov and how does it relate to the proportion of MPs each party has

Cons: 84.3% of coalition, 83.9% of seats (26)

Lib dems: 15.7% of coalition, 16.1% (5)

12

What is Gamson's law?

Gamson 1961: cabinet portfolios will be distributed among government parties in proportion to the number of seats that each party contributes to the governments legislative majority e.g UK con-LD coalition

13

What is the office-seeking theory of coalition formation

Riker 1962:
Parties will try to maximise the number of cabinet seats they can achieve. Therefore only minimum winning coalitions should form as this minimises the amount of cabinet seats that have to be shared between coalition partners (I.e not surplus coalitions). This means that even parties with massive ideological differences would form coalitions to win office e.g. In Greece the radical left is in coalition with the radical right despite the fact that they have different policy objectives

14

What is the policy seeking theory of coalition formation

Axelrod 1970:
Parties will try to maximise their influence over policy outcomes (get a policy agreement in a coalition which is as close as possible to its ideal point). This means that only connected (I.e ideologically similar) coalitions should form as this minimises the likely policy disagreements between parties. This is the case for most coalitions

15

When is minority government stable?

If the party or parties involved are in the centre because the majority coalition will not be preferred by the other parties in the legislature to the minority government. E.g. Swedish government after the 2010 election

16

What are the pros and cons of coalition government?

Pros:
- more consensual
- represent the median voter (centre party) (Huber and Powell 1994)

Cons:
- less stable than single party governments (although minimal winning only slightly)
- possible gridlock in decision making (set of policies that C prefers to the status quo) this gets worse as the ideological distance between parties increases (Tseblis 1999)
- responsibility and accountability is unclear (Hellwig and Samuels 2008) (but this can be improved through pre-electoral coalitions)

17

What are the pros and cons of single party governments

Pros:
- accountable gov - voters know who to reward and punish (hellwig and Samuels 2008)
- single party majority are the most durable
- policy making is faster/easier

Cons:
- less representative of the median voter (huber and Powell 1994)