5

According to Wikipedia, Finland manages to systematically construct a large coalition government (five parties and even six). I am wondering if this is an isolated case in Europe or not.

Question: Is there any European country that managed to construct a coalition made out of more than five parties?

  • 2
    Do countries that don't need a coalition (i.e. every party is essentially part of one single coalition) count? Specifically: Switzerland. – Peter Jan 31 at 14:42
  • @Peter - I guess it counts. Unfortunately I am not familiar at all with Switzerland's politics except for the very superficial "it is a very mature democracy that allows people to directly vote for all the important things". – Alexei Jan 31 at 15:27
  • 3
    The Netherlands had multi party coalitions for quite some time but a quick read on wikipedia seems to indicate that all coalitions in the last 30 years consisted of 3 or 4 parties. On the federal level Germany has only had 2 party coalitions iirc but there could have been 5 party coalitions in individual states. – quarague Jan 31 at 15:58
  • Are you asking about currently existing coalitions or also about past coalitions? In case if the latter: how many years going back in history would be OK and how long would that coalition need to exist to count as "they managed"? – Arsak Feb 12 at 10:46
  • @Arsak - also in the past. Anything after 1900 is fine for me, otherwise it clearly belongs to History.SE rather than Politics.SE. – Alexei Feb 12 at 10:53
3

In my country, the UK, which - due in part to the first past the post electoral system - does not generally entertain diverse coalitions, I am not aware of any examples of 6-party coalitions. There have, however, been a few 5-party coalition governments, all under fairly exceptional circumstances.

The Churchill war ministry (1940-45) consisted of 5 parties, the Conservative Party, the Labour Party, the National Liberal Party, the Liberal Party, and the National Labour Party. Obviously, this is rather a poor example with two of the five parties having split from two of the others. In addition, this coalition took place under the circumstances of global war, and so is rather an exception to the rule.

The other examples are the 3rd, 4th and 6th Northern Ireland assemblies, which have all involved the DUP, Sinn Féin, the SDLP, the UUP and the Alliance Party within the governing executive. These are also fairly weak examples, as Northern Ireland’s system of government is based on a mandatory coalition, with ministerial positions being allocated based on representation in the Assembly under the D’Hondt system.

5

I am not sure that I interpret correctly the data from Wikipedia, but Di Rupo's government included members from six parties:

  • Flemish side: CD&V, Open Vld, sp.a
  • French side: PS, MR, cdH

As a side note, negotiations were so complicated that they took about one and half years, most probably due to very fragmented political landscape that resulted from the elections.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .