The impact of coalition agreements on the implementation of democracy

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Author: Dmitry Kireev

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2018-6-36-48

Keywords: коалиционные соглашения; коалиция; парламент; парламентское большинство


One of the side effects of the application of plurality voting systems is the distortion of the proportionality between the votes cast for the party and the number of seats in parliament that the party receives as a result of the elections. However, the use of the proportional representation in democratic countries with a multi-party political system is closely linked to the institutions of coalition governments and coalition agreements. Decisions of the parliament of any state are made by a majority of the votes. The practice of foreign countries with a developed multi-party system demonstrates that a single party rarely obtains an absolute majority of the votes. Nonetheless, a relatively stable parliamentary majority, which is often achieved through coalition agreements between the parties, is required for the formation of the government, the adoption of laws, and the exercise of other functions of parliament. This article analyzes specific aspects of the conclusion of coalition agreements and the coalition policy of parties in consideration of the principles of democracy. Examples of Great Britain, Germany, and other countries reveal some side effects that should be evaluated in accordance with the principles of constitutional law. One such effect is the disproportionate influence of factions on the functions of parliament. Disproportion is expressed in the fact that two parties with comparable representation could play a fundamentally different role in the formation of the government and the adoption of legislation, depending on whether they are a party to the coalition agreement. The formation of the coalition is preceded by a negotiation process between the parties, which is an additional stage between the will of the people and the formation of a parliamentary majority. This crucial stage of the coalition process could have an impact on the activities of the legislative and executive branches, on the content of the constitutional rights of citizens, the distribution of the budget, and the constitution. The third effect is the instability of coalition governments and the possible change of configuration in parliament and government without recourse to the will of the people. It seems that the effects of coalition agreements are directly related to the proportional electoral system and could be considered to be consequences of its application.

About the author: Dmitry Kireev – postgraduate student, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia.

Citation: Kireev D. (2018) Vliyanie koalitsionnykh soglasheniy na realizatsiyu narodo­vlastiya [The impact of coalition agreements on the implementation of democracy]. Sravnitel'noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, vol.27, no.6, pp.36–48. (In Russian).


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