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minority government

A minority government is one where the governing party does not control a majority of seats in the assembly , and has not formed a coalition agreement with another party in the assembly to establish a parliamentary majority and to share ministerial posts .  A minority government is kept in power by an understanding that the government will gain the support of another party (or one or more independent members) who will vote to support the government.  This support does not involve the party becoming part of the government’s ministerial team, and the support may not extend to supporting all of the government’s legislative program. 

The essence of a minority government is that the support keeping the government in office can be withdrawn at any time, triggering the loss of the government’s majority in the assembly.  Loss of majority support in the assembly gives the premier two choices: the premier can resign in favour of the leader of another party who can generate the support of a majority of assembly members; or—and this will be the usual outcome—the premier can recommend to the lieutenant governor that parliament is dissolved and a general election is held.

Minority governments are not necessarily unstable or short lived if they can come to an agreement with another party to support the government.  Even with this support,  the government must work continually to gain support beyond its own partisan supporters for every piece of legislation.  Such a situation makes governments extremely responsive to the views of members of parliament, and open to parliamentary scrutiny in ways which rarely occur under majority governments .
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