The term coalition is derived from the Latin word ‘coalition’ meaning to go or grow together. Thus it means an act of coalescing or uniting into one body or alliance.
It indicates the combination of a number of bodies or parts into one body or whole. In the political sense it is used to indicate an alliance or temporary union between various political groups for the exercise or control of political power.
Professor Ogg defines coalition in the Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, as “cooperative arrangements under which distinct political parties or at all events members of such parties unite to form a Government or Ministry”.
Thus, it can be said that result of the exigencies of competitive multi-party system in a parliamentary democracy is coalition. It is a phenomenon where more than two political parties come together to form a government , sinking their basic ideological differences in the event of the inability of any single party to command a workable majority in the lower House of the legislature.(Srividya Sastry, 2014).
As there is power sharing, different views of different coalition parties have to be accommodated leading to delay decisions e.g long delay of bills. Coalition politics though representing regional character better, often leads to unstable government, increase horse trading, more corruption. (Mairead Finley, 2012).
The coalition does not provide one party with the power to implement their ideas so the end result is that very few ideas, if any, are implemented because an agreement cannot be reached between parties. The idea behind a coalition government is that it is to be a partnership between parties, and both parties will be treated equal.
Another problem found in a coalition government is that there is a great deal of instability within the government. It is important for coalition governments to set up procedures that can work through conflict and mitigate disputes in order for the coalition partnership to survive. It is difficult to achieve true unity between disparate parties, leading to little action from the government.
Coalition government is actually less democratic as the balance of power is inevitably held by the small parties who can barter their support for concessions from the main groups within the coalition. Can lack clear objectives, or be difficult to agree common objectives.Coalition government is less transparent. Because a party has no real chance of forming a government alone, the manifestos they present to the public become irrelevant and often wildly unrealistic. Real decisions about political programs are made after the election, in a process of secretive back-room negotiation from which the public is excluded.
Coalitions provide bad government because they are unable to take a long-term view. Sometimes an ideological compass is necessary for governments to navigate in difficult political and economic waters, and coalitions lack such a unifying philosophy. In addition planning for the long-term often requires decisions to be made that are unpopular in the short-term.Coalitions often fail such tests because temporary unpopularity may encourage one of the parties involved to defect, in search of a populist advantage. May be dominated by one powerful organization. Power is not always distributed equally among members; larger or richer organizations can have more say in decisions making.
The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been and enhancing competence in climbing the ladder of success!!
Saidina Alieu Jarjou