Factbox: Power-sharing governments around the globe

(BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s two biggest opposition parties resumed talks on Monday to reach a deal to govern after an inconclusive election last week that has left markets looking for a swift resolution to political deadlock.

It is the first time in Britain since 1974 that no party has overall control after an election. Many other countries however have been living with minority governments and coalition governments for some years.

Here is a short snapshot of some countries where there is not a simple majority government:


— The center-right National Party led government has been at pains to hold the political center-ground and offend as few voters as possible. It has maintained remarkably high poll ratings and avoided major controversy.

— The government is expected to last its three-year term but at times may struggle to push through some pieces of legislation, or be forced to make concessions which are unpopular with its support base in order to get laws passed.


— Canada’s last election was in October 2008 and under fixed date legislation, the next vote is not due until October 2012. But Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper sidestepped the law to trigger the 2008 election, leaving open the possibility he could do so again if he felt he could win.

— Under Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system, where the candidate with the most votes in each constituency wins, a party typically needs at least 40 percent public support to capture a majority of the 308 seats in the House of Commons.

— In the latest power struggle between the minority Conservative government and opposition legislators Speaker Peter Milliken issued a ruling that rebuked the government for refusing to hand over to Parliament uncensored documents about the transfer of prisoners taken by Canadian troops in Afghanistan to local authorities. If the two sides cannot reach an agreement there could be an election.


— Fredrik Reinfeldt’s center-right government coalition 2006 election victory came after 10 years of Social Democrat rule and after he brought his Moderate Party closer to the center. He also portrayed the center-right as the “new working man’s” party with pledges to create more jobs.

— In Sweden, after a 1992 banking crisis, a coalition government oversaw a recovery plan now hailed as a model around the world.


— In Scotland Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party was elected first minister of Scotland. In that month’s election, the SNP won 47 of the 129 seats in the Scottish parliament. The SNP struck a deal with the Green Party to build a minority administration.

— In Britain, coalition governments have been unheard of except at times of grave emergencies such as the two World Wars and the Great Depression of the 1930s, and the habit of one-party rule is hard to break for the two parties that have benefited.

— Memories of the last hung parliament, in February 1974, are not reassuring. Then, a Labour government pushed ahead with minority support in the Commons, but it proved so difficult that a snap election was called seven months later. Labour won, but by a razor-thin majority of six.


— The Dutch coalition government collapsed in February 2010 after the two largest parties disagreed over whether to withdraw the 2,000 Dutch troops from Afghanistan as planned this year.

— Given the government fell because of a deep rift between Labour and the Christian Democrats over the deployment of Dutch troops to Afghanistan and the emergence of strong opposition parties, political observers say prolonged coalition talks are the most likely outcome after the June 9 vote.

Investing Analysis

(Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit; Editing by Maria Golovnina)

Factbox: Power-sharing governments around the globe