The Government

Guiding Principle: Stable and Effective Government

Based on the experience of Mixed Member Proportional countries, the Assembly is confident that the system will provide stable and effective government.

Guiding Principle: Effective Parliament

The Mixed Member Proportional system may make the environment in the legislature less adversarial. Parties need to work together more because it is rare for a party to form a majority government on its own.

The new system reflects the belief that a party should only be able to form a singleparty majority government when it receives a majority, or close to a majority, of the votes. When no party wins a majority of votes in the election, the party that wins the most seats can form a single-party minority government. Minority governments can function with the informal or formal support of other parties in the legislature. In the current system, minority governments tend to govern for a time, with a focus on achieving majority status at the next election. In countries with Mixed Member Proportional systems, parties know that it is rare for a single party to form a majority government on its own, so parties are more likely to share power and govern through coalitions.

In Mixed Member Proportional systems, coalition majority governments are the most common. These are governments made up of two or more parties that together have a majority of seats. These governments are generally stable and effective: They are able to carry out the business of government, make decisions, get bills passed, and address voters’ needs.

Coalition majority governments may actually enhance stability by discouraging abrupt shifts in policy that can occur in the current system when the government changes from one party to another – neither of which was elected with a majority of support from voters.

The stability of governments is also measured by whether governments can serve their full term in office. Looking at Mixed Member Proportional countries, early elections tend to be no more frequent than in our current system. For example, Ontario has had 16 elections since 1948; Germany has had 16 elections since 1949.