Coalitions are to some not good government because they do not take a long term view. For others they offer a more inclusive government more representative of the electorate. Turkey’s experience of coalition government has not been good with the overwhelming majority either failing or bringing about immense instability. In most instances both. The Turkish experience of coalition governments is one of a lack of decision making, as parties and people defect to gain populist advantages. Especially for countries like Turkey it brings lots of political and economical instability. The average coalition government life in Turkey in the 90 years of its republic time is only a year and half. However it remains as a credible option in the forthcoming elections…
Coalition governments – a coalition government is one in which a number of political parties cooperate. The usual reason is that no party has a majority in parliament.
POSITIVE ASPECTS OF COALITIONS
Coalition government can be more democratic because it represents the voices of more people. In a coaltion the majority of the people voted for the parties that formed their government, and their views and interests are taken into consideration in decision making.
A coalition government can be a more dynamic political system. In countries like the UK or the US, the main parties cover a wide range of opinion, and are in fact coalitions of different groups and ideologies. A coalition is thus more honest (such wide ranging parties fight among itself when elected in – coalitions are what they are), and give the voter a greater coice.
Coalitions make decisions that are in the interest of the majority because there is a wide consensus, with any policy being debated. Single party governments can impose badly discussed policies.
Coalition governments can ensure continuity. In countries without a tradition of coalition government parties can remain in government or opposition for a long period of time and an adversarial political culture can develop. If a change occurs the new members have little experience of government and merely reverse the earlier regime’s policies. However states with coalitions some ministers will have considerable experience under earlier governments. This creates a more consensual style of politics.
NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF COALITIONS
Coalition governments are less democratic – balance of power held by smaller parties who will use this to force the main groups; thus a party with little popular support can impose its policies. (Greens in Germany and France, and lib dems demands for constitutional reforms in the UK). If a president is involved in coalition making, this can make the system even less democratic as they can ask some parties and not others, or call for new elections.
Coalition governments are less transparent. The party manifestos become irrelevant. The decisions on policies are made after election and is often not transparent, thus undermining accountability. Also, if a coalition falls, the new government is likely to include members of the old government, and thus there will be no accountability of earlier errors.
Coalitions are not good government because they do not take long term view. Unpopular decisions won’t be taken, as parties can defect to gain populist advantages.
Coalition governments can be unstable; (Italy one government per year since 1945). Thus major reforms cannot be made and politicians do not stay in ministerial positions long enough to be effective. Also, the arguing affects public confidence. If a coalition takes too long to form the country can be without government. Belgium once took six months to negotiate new coalitions.
The Dutch political scientist ArendLijphart concluded that consensus democracies were as good as majoritarian democracies in stimulating economic growth, controlling inflation and unemployment and limiting budget deficits, although coalitions tended to spend more than single-party governments. However, coalitions outperformed majoritarian systems on measures of political equality, women’s representation, voter turnout and greater proximity between voters’ preferences and government policies.
UK Coalition government and decision-making
Prime Minister Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Clegg agreed on a programme for government. The two leaders drew on the most coherent and less divisive aspects of each party manifesto. They agreed to some sensible trade-offs on education, civil liberties, constitutional reform and fiscal policy, and they generally allocated cabinet portfolios on merit rather than partisanship. Amazingly, this did not provoke any apparent discontent among the Conservative shadow cabinet members, who had to forgo their prospective slots to allow the Liberal Democrats five cabinet posts and several junior ministers.
In Germany, for instance, coalition government is the norm, as it is rare for either the Christian Democratic Union of Germany together with their partners the Christian Social Union in Bavaria(CDU/CSU), or the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), to win an unqualified majority in a national election. Thus, at the federal level, governments are formed with at least two parties. For example, Helmut Kohl‘s CDU governed for years in coalition with the Free Democratic Party (FDP); from 1998 to 2005 Chancellor Gerhard Schröder‘s SPD was in power with the Greens; and from 2009 Chancellor Angela Merkel, CDU/CSU was in power with the FDP.
Germany, Europe’s largest economy, is perhaps the best example of a country with a long tradition of stable coalition administrations. Chancellor Angela Merkel currently leads a coalition between the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) — though this has come under strain recently as a result of Merkel’s support for a huge financial rescue plan for Greece.
Grand coalitions between the two largest parties also occur, but these are relatively rare. Discussions between parties often take place prior to an election because of a general acceptance that no one party is capable of an outright majority. This is seen as a key factor in helping to make a coalition stable.
France does not have a full-fledged two-party system; that is, a system where, though many political parties may exist, only two parties are relevant to the dynamics of power. However French politics displays some tendencies characterizing a two-party system in which power alternates between relatively stable coalitions, each being led by a major party: on the left, the Socialist Party, on theright, the UMP and its predecessors. See politics of France for more details.
Several months before an election, each party forms a list of candidates for each district. Parties are allowed to place as many candidates on their “ticket” as there are seats available. The formation of the list is an internal process that varies with each party. The place on the list influences the election of a candidate, but its influence has diminished since the last electoral reform.
Political campaigns in Belgium are relatively short, lasting only about one month, and there are restrictions on the use of billboards. For all of their activities, campaigns included, the political parties have to rely on government subsidies and dues paid by their members.
Since no single party holds an absolute majority, after the election the strongest party or party family will usually create a coalition with some of the other parties to form the government.
Voting is compulsory in Belgium; more than 90% of the population participates. Belgian voters are given five options when voting. They may—
Vote for a list as a whole, thereby showing approval of the order established by the party they vote for
Vote for one or more individual candidates belonging to one party, regardless of his or her ranking on the list. This is a “preference vote”
Vote for one or more of the “alternates (substitutes)”
Vote for one or more candidates, and one or more alternates, all of the same party
Vote invalid or blank so no one receives the vote
Belgium’s experience has been less positive. Its political system is organized around the need to represent the main cultural communities: Flemish or Dutch-speaking Flanders in the north, French-speaking Wallonia in the south and the German-speaking cantons in the east. This has often resulted in a weak coalition government, with a number of parties vying for control.
Last month Prime Minister Yves Leterme was forced to resign after a Flemish liberal party withdrew from the five-party coalition government after a dispute over electoral boundaries around the nation’s capital, Brussels.
Bizarrely Brussels is the only electoral district where votes are not cast purely on linguistic lines. Belgium’s political system insists that you can’t vote for a French-speaking party in Flanders and vice versa.
Turkey has had 18 coalition governments, whether it be because of military coups or disagreements between the parties most of the coalition governments formed were short-term. For the last 13 years there has been a single party government, which has brought some stability to the country’s political, economical and social situations. Some say 13 years of the same government is enough. Critics point to the government’s officials feeling a position of comfort bordering on entitlement. In the recent elections no party won the majority votes and therefore weren’t able to form a single party government, and because a coalition government wasn’t formed in 45 days (due to policy differences between parties) an early election was called and what Turkey has right now is a temporary coalition government till elections on 1st November.
What we gather from our dialogue with our local and European colleagues is that what Turkey needs right now is for all parties to come together, whether it be for a coalition government or to solve the country’s current terrorist issue. For Turkey to move forward and for it to get past it’s current disturbed situation all voices from all sides need to be heard.