Theoretical patterns and empirical parameters of minority governments stability in the European parlamentary democracies

: 45-53
Received: March 29, 2017
Accepted: April 14, 2017
Higher School of National Economy in Kutno (Poland)

Government stability is one of the key and basic indicators of feasibility or unreasonableness of various political systems, political institutions and processes’ choice and quality of functioning, a predictor of systemic stability, democratic representation and accountability, and prospects for further strengthening/consolidation of democracy. Minority governments, especially in the European parliamentary democracies, where these institutional scenario (although not in all countries, but on average) are quite often used and are not treated as situational and necessarily “crisis and risk”, constitute no exceptions in this context. Accordingly, the analysis and outline of minority governments’ stability, particularly on the background of current knowledge about theoretical, methodological and empirical characteristics and prerequisites of comparative study, types, theoretical and empirical principles, reasons, models and methods of forming and accountability, party related, electoral, ideological and power-opposition attributes of minority government, executive-legislative and intra- governmental relations and legislative process in the cut of minority government in the European parliamentary democracies, are extremely important and far-sighted, because it is posiible to identify certain patterns of inter-institutional relations. Therefore, the article is dedicated to analyzing patterns of minority governments’ stability in European parliamentary democracies, in particular in the European systems of positive and negative parliamentarism (in 1944–2016). The author has found that minority governments are relatively less stable than majority governments. However, the researcher argues that single-party minority governments on average are more stable than minority coalition governments.

Armingeon, K.,  Weisstanner, D., Knöpfel, L. (2014). Supplement to the Comparative Political Data Set – Government Composition 1960–2012 (36 OECD countries and/or EU-member Countries). Universität Bern: Institute of Political Science. Retrieved from sets/index_eng.html

Arter, D. (1999). Scandinavian Politics Today. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Balke, N. (1990). The Rational Timing of Parliamentary Elections. Public Choice, 64, 2, 201–21.

Blondel, J., Müller, F. (2001). Cabinets in Eastern Europe. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Bogdanor, V. (1983). Multi-party Politics and the Constitution. Cambridge: Cambridge  University   Press.

Byaloblocki, Z. (2013). Stabilnist ta efektyvnist uryadiv u politychnykh systemakh krayin Skhidnoyi Yevropy. [In Ukrainian].   Lviv: Vydavnychyy   tsentr   LNU imeni I. Franka.

Conrad, C., Golder, S. (2010). Measuring government duration and stability in Central Eastern European democracies. European Journal of Political Research, 49,  1, 119–150.

Diermeier, D., Merlo, A. (2000). Government turnover in parliamentary democracies. Journal of Economic  Theory, 94, 1, 46–79.

Dodd, L. (1976). Coalitions in Parliamentary Government. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Dodd, L. (1974). Party Coalitions in Multiparty Parliaments: A Game Theoretic. Analysis American Political Science Review, 68, 1093–1117.

Döring, H., Manow, Ph. (n/d). Parliaments and governments database (ParlGov): Information on parties, elections, and cabinets in modern democracies: Experimental version. Retrieved from

Elgie, R., Maor, M. (1992). Accounting for the Survival of Minority Governments: An Examination of the French Case, 1988-1991. West European Politic, 15, 4, 57–74.

 Henderson, K. 91997). Post-Communist Politics: An Introduction. London: Prentice Hall.

Huber, J.,  Martinez- Gallardo, C. (2004). Cabinet Instability and the Accumulation of Experience in the Cabinet: The French Fourth and Fifth Republics in Comparative Perspective. British Journal of  Political Science, 34, 1, 27–48.

Huber, J., Martinez- Gallardo, C. (2008). Replacing Cabinet Ministers: Patterns of Ministerial Stability in Parliamentary Democracies. American Political Science Review, 102, 2, 169–180.

Ieraci,  G., Poropat, F. (2013). Governments in  Europe (1945–2013): A Data Set.  EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste. Retrieved from

Ireland, M., Garther, S.-Sig. (2001). Time to Fight. Government Type and Conflict Initiation in Parliamentary Systems. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 45, 547–568.

Laver, M., Shepsle, K. (1998a). Events, Equilibria and Government Survival. American Journal of Political Science, 42, 1, 28–54.

Laver, M., Schofield, N. (1998b). Multiparty Government: The Politics of Coalition in Europe. University of Michigan Press.

Lytvyn, V. (2008). Kontseptualne vyznachennya ponyattya “uryadova stabilnist". [In Ukrainian]. Naukovyy visnyk Uzhhorodskoho universytetu. Seriya : Politolohiya,  Sotsiolohiya,  Filosofiya, 10, 37–42.

Maor, M. (1990). The Dynamics of Minority Rule: a Bargaining-Based Theoretical Framework. Paper presented to the Joint Sessions of the ECPR.

Maoz, Z., Russett, B. (1993). Normative and structural causes of the democratic peace, 1946–1986. American Political Science Review, 87, 3, 624–638.

Maoz, Z., Somer-Topcus, Z. (2010).  Political Polarization and Cabinet Stability in Multiparty Systems: A Social Networks Analysis of European Parliament, 1945–98. British Journal of Political Science, 40,  4, 805–833.

Martin, L., Stevenson, R. (2001). Government Formation in Parliamentary Democracies. American Journal of Political Science, 45, 1, 33–50.

Mershon, C. (2002). The Costs of Coalition. Stanford University Press.

Müller-Rommel, F., Fettelschoss, K. (2004a). Cabinet Government and Cabinet Ministers in Central Eastern European Democracies: A Descriptive Cross National Evaluation. Paper presented at the ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops, University of Uppsala. April 13-18. 

Müller-Rommel, F., Fettelschoss, K. (2004b). Party Government in Central European Democracies: A Data Collection (1990–2003). European Journal of Political Research, 43,  869–893.

Mohunova, M. (2001). Skandynavskyi parlamentaryzm. Teoryia y praktyka. [In Russian]. Moskwa: Rossyiskyi hosudarstvennyi   humanytarnyi   unyversytet.

Nielsen, H. (1982). The Danish General Election of 1981. West European Politics, 5, 3, 305–307.

 Powell,  B. (1982). Contemporary Democracies: Participation, Stability, and Violence. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Prins,  B., Sprecher, Ch. (1999). Institutional constraints, political opposition, and interstate dispute escalation: Evidence from parliamentary systems, 1946–1989. Journal of Peace Research, 36, 2, 271–287.

Romaniuk, A. (2007). Porivnialnyi analiz politychnykh instytutiv krain Zakhidnoi Yevropy. [In Ukrainian]. Lviv: Vydavnychyi tsentr LNU imeni Ivana Franka.

Romaniuk, A. (2003). Porivnialnyi analiz politychnykh system krain Zakhidnoi Yevropy: instytutsiinyi vymir. [In Ukrainian]. Lviv : TsPD LNU im. I. Franka.

Romaniuk, A., Lytvyn, V. (2016). Porivnialnyi analiz politychnykh instytutiv krain Vyshehradskoi hrupy ta inshykh krain Tsentralno-Skhidnoi Yevropy. [In Ukrainian]. Lviv: LNU imeni Ivana Franka.

Sanders, D., Herman, V. (1977). The Stability and Survival of Governments in Western Europe. Acta Politica, 12, 3, 346–377.

Sartori,  G. (1976). Parties and Party Systems: A Framework of Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Savage, L. (2012). A product of their bargaining environment: Explaining government duration in Central and Eastern Europe. SEI Working Paper, 130.

Smith, A. (2003). Election Timing in Majoritarian Parliaments. British Journal of Political Science, 33, 397–418.

Somer-Topcu, Z., Williams, L.(2008). Survival of the fittests?   Cabinet duration in   Postcommunist   Europe. Comparative Politics, 40, 3, 313–329.

Strøm, K. (1990). Minority Government and Majority Rule. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Strøm, K. (1984). Minority Governments in Parliamentary Democracies: The Rationality of Nonwinning Cabinet Solutions. Comparative Political  Studies,  17, 2, 199–226.

Taylor, M., Herman, V. (1971). Party Systems and Government Stability. American Political  Science  Review, 65, 1, 28–37.

 Teare,  C. (2003). Cabinet Durability within Parliamentary Democracies: The Italian Model. Creighton University. Retrieved from

 Thomas,  A. (1988).  The 1987 Danish Election. West European Politics, 11, 2, 114–118.

Warwick, P. (2007). Government Survival in Parliamentary Democracies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wesche, S. (2013). Electoral systems and their effect on the survival of minority and coalition governments in parliamentary democracies. Ottawa: The University of Ottawa.

Woldendorp, J., Keman, H., Budge, I. (2000). Party Government in 48 Democracies (1945–1998): composition, duration, personnel. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Zimmerman, E. (1987). Government Stability in Six European Countries During the World Economic Crisis of the 1930s: Some Preliminary Considerations. European Journal of Political Research, 15, 1, 23–52.