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Coalition government

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A coalition government is a government in which several parties cooperate. The usual reason is that no party on its own has a majority in the representative council. This is usual when the latter is chosen by proportional representation, but more rare under a district system (see First Past the Post electoral system). It does not appear at all in countries where the government is chosen by the president rather than the house of representatives (such as France, the United States and Russia). Countries that usually have a coalition government include the Nordic countries, the Benelux, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Israel and India. Sometimes a coalition government is also created in times of large difficulties, for example war, to give the government a high degree of acceptability and diminish internal political strife.

A coalition can consist of any number of parties. In Germany, a coalition rarely if ever consists of more than two parties (at least if we count CDU and CSU as one party), while in Belgium, where there are separate Dutch-language and French-language parties for each political group, coalitions of six parties are quite common.

See also: cohabitation

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