The Impact of the Legal Framework for Local Government on Building and Sustaining Coalitions in Municipal Councils
Dladla, Kwazikwenkosi Frank
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In any democratic society, elections are a significant mechanism for citizens to communicate with their representatives. As a result, elections provide a window of opportunity to every voter to hire or fire any political party or independent representative. As an aggregated measure of popular preference, elections constitute an important means to affirm that people in any society should be free to choose their own government based on the parties political beliefs and policies that appeal to the needs of the electorates. Powell sums up this perspective in two points; first, the voter must be able to identify the prospective future governors and have some idea of what they will do if elected. Secondly, the outcome of the elections should bring into office a coherent government whose inherent powers are clearly defined and limited. However, elections sometimes do not produce a single party with an absolute majority to form a government. In such an instance, a coalition or minority government becomes inevitable. It has been argued that coalitions are formed for two different yet interrelated reasons; first to pursue common goals among coalition partners. Secondly, to enable the coalition partners to share the benefits related with being in power. No matter what the intentions are for forming a coalition by the political parties, coalition governments are bound to encounter challenges. One of the challenges is the need to consult and reach consensus among coalition partners, which may not only result in government decision-making being slower but also more complex. Secondly, conflicts within a ruling coalition can make a government unstable and weak due to conflicting ideologies.