Possible election outcomes: Majority, Minority, Coalition (some countries have natural
coalition parties, some don’t) coalitions always happen after the vote.
Another decision characteristic of Parliamentary systems is that there is no set schedule for
elections. When do they call elections?
•Government calls one
•The disintegration of coalition governments
Thus, elections are as a result of strategy. Parties only call elections when they believe they
can win, or have the best possibility to improve their position.
The parliamentary system is called the unitary system of government because there is only
1 source of power or 1 branch of government
The PM has no mandate to stay in power, must keep the confidence of the house.
Legislation in parliament
•Cabinet members set the agenda, initiate legislation opponents, thus, control what is
Ruling party has significant power through the ability to set the agenda
•Private member bills usually never get passed.
Party leaders dictate the party agenda and the way they vote. Party discipline is very
important, if party members don’t tow the line, they can be removed from the party and in
The largest opposition is called the official opposition. There are rules governing when the
opposition sits, where, how long they can speak for etc
•Institutionalized opposition who can publicly criticize the government, is a crucial
part of democratic legitimacy.
Upper house is not elected. They are selected and appointed by the PM for life.
•Parties in power will usually try to stack the senate.
•Institutions are hard to reform because they create vested interests
Head of State – Crown (Canada GG) Head of Government – PM