First of all, forge the world champion – the world champion if you think about how many days it took. This record goes back to 2011, when our southern neighbors formed a new government only 541 days after the election. For a moment, the Belgians seemed to break their record last year, but in the end it didn’t get there (although the 493-day formation is of course on the long side as well).
The result after those 493 days: a coalition of no fewer than seven parties. What makes it difficult for the Belgians is that their country is divided into regions, the largest of which are Flanders and Wallonia. Voting in these two regions varies greatly. In Flanders, right-to-far-right parties are very popular, in Wallonia from left to far left. The result: a government can only be formed with the Flemish right-wing N-VA, left-wing and Lon PS.
Then he tried to enter them into an alliance. An alliance wanted to form the existing parties without the extremist parties on both sides. As a result, after 493 days, the so-called “Vivaldi Alliance,” named after the composer, turned out to be the better option. The Four Seasons, Vivaldi’s most famous work, became the Four Political Families: Socialists, Greens, Liberals and Christian Democrats together formed the new government.
But thus a seven-party government. Incidentally, the breakthrough came due to the postponement of decisions regarding core problems and sensitive topics (such as the abortion law, which both parties think very differently).
Last year, Austria also surprised a special alliance. The governor, Christian Democrat ÖVP, Chancellor Sebastian Curtis, decided to cooperate with the Green Party. A year and a half before that, Curtis was still ruling with the far-right FPÖ.
This alliance collapsed due to a political scandal in FPÖ. After years of cooperation, the ÖVP is tired of the Social Democrats. So the Greens appeared to be the only option left.
“The fact that such a cooperation has been established is also because the parties have presented a very detailed coalition agreement,” says political scientist Mariken van der Velden of VU University in Amsterdam. It is also very clear what topics the parties prefer not to discuss together and, therefore, to postpone.
Van der Velden says there is also a “clear exchange”. The climate has gone to greens, as it has to social affairs. The Interior, Finance and the European Union, on the other hand, have become ÖVP governors. Important. The parties retain a certain degree of control, because the foreign minister often belongs to a party other than the minister. ”
This principle, the ability to spread one’s values in the appropriate ministries, also occurred in Denmark. In 2015, the country welcomed an alliance that was according to van der Velden amazing: an alliance between Fenster (agrarian), the liberal alliance (liberal) and Dansk Folkeparti (conservative, a kind of Danish PVV).
Especially striking: He allied with many parties according to Danish standards. “There are three exceptional parties in Denmark,” says Van der Velden. They usually compete with a minority government or two parties.
Several elections were held in Spain before an alliance was eventually formed. “In Spain they usually don’t have any alliances at all. They have it for the first time. That is why several elections were called. The Spaniards wanted to make sure that there was no party that could achieve a majority.”
That does not work. There was an alliance of social democrats and a radical left party.
“You see a trend across Europe,” says Van der Velden. “In many countries, the political landscape is fragmented. Where fragmentation occurs, and where more parties get less vote, formation takes longer.”
“With the formation in 2012 in the Netherlands, I saw that they came out fairly quickly. Both VVD and PvdA got a lot of votes and were able to reach the majority together, even though they are not necessarily each other’s preferred partners. Now there are no big parties. There are several parties that do not have much experience yet and this makes it difficult. “
After VVD Leader Rutte lied about “positioning elsewhere” to CDA MP Omtzigt, it became more difficult, says Van der Velden. “The parties are asking how they should engage with each other and who they can trust. They want to penetrate the old administrative culture, with more consultation with the House of Representatives and a more open coalition agreement. But this is difficult if you have to work with many parties. A whole coalition agreement to keep the alliance together and make cooperation possible. ”
Therefore, it is not easy to reach consensus with more parties, says the political scientist Van der Velden. “It’s easier, for example, in the United Kingdom, where the largest party usually rules alone. At the same time, many parties can be good as well. And it seems that there are different visions of how society should be organized. With more parties, they have been done.” Achieving a lot, and these votes may already be represented in Parliament. “