Opinion: Coalition government (Good or bad?)

POSTED: 09/1/14 9:45 PM

Are coalition governments bad for a country as Miguel Arrindell writes elsewhere on this page? This is not necessarily so, but the success of such a government depends on the willingness of coalition partners to work together and to listen to each other. In this case, it takes seven to tango. While such a dance – that ideally is going to last four years – seems complicated and bound to go wrong somewhere down the road, it has its obvious advantages too.

One advantage is that there are three cooks in the kitchen. With three parties having access to the most intimate details of the governments inner workings, it seems logical to assume that any wrongdoings – or plain bad decisions – will come to the surface rather sooner than later. With a bit of good fortune, such decisions never happen.

With three cooks in the kitchen there should also be more debate, and more input from different perspectives to arrive at the best possible initiatives.

In the third Wescot-Williams cabinet this did not work out all that well. Just look at the controversy surrounding the purchase of the Vorst Estate, whereby Minister Maurice Lake simply went out on his own to sign a $5.5 million deal without informing the Council of Ministers.

A new cabinet is free to set its own rules and if the three partners wanted to switch once more to joint ministerial responsibility – whereby a decision will only move ahead with majority support in the Council of Ministers – there is nothing to stop them.

Will that really happen? We will know soon enough. It would certainly be a welcome gesture if only because it would protect the country, and thereby its taxpayers, against the irresponsible squandering of the money that belongs to all of us.

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