Unity governments and their short-term governance worldwide


PETALING JAYA: Unity governments must beware of confidence issues, as they have led to short-lived governance around the world.

In Italy, following the collapse of the second Conte government amid a political crisis in February 2021, President Sergio Mattarella was set on tasking former European Central Bank president Mario Draghi to form a government of national unity.

The two main tasks of Draghi’s government, which was in office between Feb 21, 2021, and Oct 22, 2022, were to tackle Covid-19 and the economic crisis battering the country.

He successfully formed a “big-tent coalition” that gathered together leftist, centrist and right-wing parties, supported by a large majority of the Italian Parliament.

In the 20 months his government was in power, it managed to navigate through the pandemic crisis, the war in Ukraine, and the consequences both had on the economy before one of the coalition members withdrew support and boycotted a confidence vote, signalling the likelihood of early elections. Draghi then submitted his resignation.

Since 2011, Italy has had three unity governments, all of which have lasted no more than two years.

In Ireland, a coalition government was formed following negotiations between Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, and the Green Party on June 27, 2020, as no party secured a majority after the 2020 general election.

It has been agreed that the government led by Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin will last until December 2022, after which the positions will rotate, with Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar forming a new government.

It is the first time that rivals Fianna Fail and Fine Gael have participated in the same government.

The government has since been successful; with no dissolution of Parliament two years on.

Canada has seen many minority governments and is currently led by a minority government as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party does not have enough seats to command a majority.

However, the opposition New Democratic Party willingly supported the establishment of a minority government that has remained stable and intact since the snap elections last year.

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