What is a minority government?

Rummy helped me realize in my comments that I may take for granted my understanding of minority governments due to having seen it in the Canadian political system so I thought I’d present a simple explanation.

Put simply a minority government is one where the incumbent governing party does not control the majority of the overall number of seats in parliament.

To illustrate this let us examine what we have today, which could be considered a majority government.

At present we have 36 MPs. 22 are PLP, 12 UBP and 2 independent. This means the PLP have the majority and thus can pass anything they like in Parliament assuming PLP members toe the party line.

A minority government would be a government where the PLP for example would still be the incumbent but would not control the majority of seats.  Let us suggest that a new party had arisen last election and the results came out as 17 PLP, 13 UBP, and 6 for party X. This would mean that the PLP does not control the majority of the seats and thus would have to win support of either UBP members or members of party X to pass any law in parliament.

This kind of restriction means that the incumbent is now held accountable as they are unable to pass laws they cannot get support from either of the two oppositions.  Subsequently they are at risk of being called back to an election if the two oppositions agree on a vote of no confidence.

This kind of government promotes compromise and reduces the arrogance seen of majority governments because in order to succeed they must earn their support rather than assume it and take it forgranted.  It means we would see a return of issues being properly debated and fairer stances being undertaken.  Thus we end up with a stronger government because it is forced to be accountable and transparent.

We have already seen examples of a minority government in action when rebel MPs in the PLP stood against Premier Brown’s ridiculous attempt to pass his gambling law.  Since he did not control the majority of MPs he was unsuccessful and has subsequently had to reign in his overt ways in favor of greater compromise or he shall be held at a stalemate unable to accomplish anything.  It is this that we need to see continue and could likely shall if we saw a new party arise with the goal of pursuing a minority government.

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1 thought on “What is a minority government?

  1. Thank you Mr. Pitcher. My comments were such not only to enlighten me because I knew but for readers who have or had no clue as to what you really addressed.
    Karma is real and may your feathers glow and grow with you.

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