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A coalition government is a cabinet of a parliamentary government in which several political parties cooperate, reducing the dominance of any one party within that coalition. The usual reason given for this arrangement is that no party on its own can achieve a majority in the parliament. A coalition government might also be created in a time of national difficulty or crisis, for example during wartime, or economic crisis, to give a government the high degree of perceived political legitimacy, or collective identity it desires while also playing a role in diminishing internal political strife. In such times, parties have formed all-party coalitions(national unity governments, grand coalitions). If a coalition collapses, a confidence vote is held or a motion of no confidence is taken.
- 1 Practice
- 2 Distribution
- 3 Criticism
- 4 See also
- 5 References
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To deal with a situation in which no clear majorities appear through general elections, parties either form coalition cabinets, supported by a parliamentary majority, or minority cabinets which may consist of one or more parties. Cabinets based on a coalition with majority in a parliament, ideally, are more stable and long-lived than minority cabinets. While the former are prone to internal struggles, they have less reason to fear votes of non-confidence. Majority governments based on a single party are typically even more stable, as long as their majority can be maintained.
Coalition cabinets are common in countries in which a parliament is proportionally representative, with several organized political parties represented. It usually does not appear in countries in which the cabinet is chosen by the executive rather than by a lower house, such as in the United States (however, coalition cabinets are common in Brazil). In semi-presidential systems such as France, where the president formally appoints a prime minister but the government itself must still maintain the confidence of parliament, coalition governments occur quite regularly.
DistributionSee also: List of countries with coalition governments
Countries which often operate with coalition cabinets include: the Nordic countries, the Benelux countries, Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Turkey, Israel, New Zealand, Kosovo, Pakistan, Kenya, India, Trinidad and Tobago, Thailand and Ukraine. Switzerland has been ruled by a coalition of the four strongest parties in parliament from 1959 to 2008, called the "Magic Formula". The United Kingdom also operates a formal coalition cabinet between the Conservative and the Liberal Democrat parties, but this is unusual because the UK normally has a majority government.