A coalition government is a form of government in which political parties cooperate to form a government. The usual reason for such an arrangement is that no single party has achieved an absolute majority after an election.
In this article, candidates will learn about Coalition government within the context of the IAS Exam.
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Meaning of Coalition Government
The term ‘coalition’ is derived from the Latin world ‘coalitio’ which means ‘to grow together’. Thus, technically, coalition means the act of uniting parts into one body or whole. Politically, coalition means an alliance of distinct political parties
Coalition usually occurs in modern parliaments when no single political party can muster a majority of votes. Two or more parties, who have enough elected members between them to form a majority, may then be able to agree on a common programme that does not require too many drastic compromises with their individual policies and can proceed to form a government.
Candidates can read similar Polity articles from links below:
|Parliament and State Legislature||Parliamentary Committees|
|Parliamentary Privileges and Immunities||Devices of Parliamentary Proceedings|
|Functions of Parliament in India||Sessions of Indian Parliament|
Get more Polity Notes for UPSC in the linked article.
Features of Coalition Government
The features of a Coalition Government are highlighted below:
- Coalition is formed for the sake of reward, material or psychic
- A coalition implies the existence of a least two partners
- The underlying principle of a coalition system stands on the simple fact of temporary conjunction of specific interest.
- Coalition politics is not a static but a dynamic affair as coalition players and groups can dissolve and form new ones
- The keynote of coalition politics is compromise and rigid dogma has no place in it.
- A coalition works on the basis of a minimum programme, which may not be ideal for each partner of the coalition.
- Pragmatism and not ideology is the hall-mark of coalition politics. In making political adjustments, principles may have to be set aside.
- The purpose of a coalition adjustment is to seize power.
In India, coalitions have come up before or after elections. The pre-poll coalition is considered advantageous as it provides a common platform for all parties to woo the electorate on the basis of a joint manifesto. A post-election union is intended to enable constituents to share political power and run the government.
Formation of Coalition Governments in India
The table below highlights the Coalition Government formed in India in the ensuing years:
Formation of Coalition Governments in India (1977-Present)
|Period||Coalition||Prime Minister (Party)|
|1977-1979||Janata Party||Morarji Desai (Congress (O))|
|1979-1980||Janta Party (Secular)||Charan Singh (Janata (S))|
|1989-1990||National Front||V.P Singh (Janata Dal)|
|1990-1991||Janata Dal (Socialist) or Samajwadi Janata Party||Chandra Shekar (Janata Dal (S) or Samajwadi Party)|
|1996-1997||United Front||H..D Deve Gowda (Janata Dal)|
|1997-1998||United Front||I.K Gujral (Janata Dal)|
|1997-1998||BJP-led Coalition||A.B. Vajpayee (BJP)|
|1999-2004||National Democratic Alliance (NDA)||A.B. Vajpayee (BJP)|
|2004-2009||United Progressive Alliance (UPA)||Manmohan Singh (Congress)|
|2009-2014||United Progressive Alliance – II (UPA-II)||Manmohan Singh (Congress)|
|2014-2019||National Democratic Alliance (NDA)||Narendra Modi (BJP)|
|2019-present||National Democratic Alliance (NDA)||Narendra Modi (BJP)|
Merits and Demerits of Coalition Government
The merits and demerits of a coalition government is highlighted in the table below:
Demerits and Merits of Coalition Government
Frequently asked Questions about Coalition Governments
Under which conditions can a coalition government be formed?
What are the positive and negative aspects of a coalition government?
Advocates of proportional representation suggest that a coalition government leads to more consensus-based politics, as a government comprising differing parties (often based on different ideologies) need to compromise about governmental policy. Another stated advantage is that a coalition government better reflects the popular opinion of the electorate within a country. Those who disapprove of coalition governments believe that such governments have a tendency to be fractious and prone to disharmony, as their component parties hold differing beliefs and thus may not always agree on policy.
Aspirants can find complete information about upcoming Government Exams through the linked article. More exam-related preparation materials will be found through the links given below