Sunday, January 22, 2006

The minority coalition question

I've read in several places the question as to whether the Liberals and NDP could form a coalition which has more seats combined than the Conservatives, and in this way request the Governor-General to appoint them as the Government, thereby keeping the Conservatives out.

Such a possibility is extremely unlikely, as this National Post column points out.

In Canada, there has been only one time when the party that didn't win the most seats was asked to form the government, and that was in 1925. Conservatives under Arthur Meighen had more votes than the Liberals, but the Liberals, who had the support of the Progressive Party, were asked to form the government. That coalition lasted a year. The Governor-General then asked the Conservatives to form the government, but it fell within days.

If the Liberals, as the incumbent governing party, think they can govern with the support of another party, they have the right to ask, but it's ultimately up to the Governor-General to decide who is most likely to govern and control the House.

Other questions asked in the article: could two opposition parties form a coalition to prevent official oposition status for the Bloc? What happens if the Tories win 154 seats?

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