By and large, our parliament is a dual party affair. Multi party parliaments do exist, but they are indecisive (Italy, Greece) or have specific measure in place to ensure decisive, durable coalitions are formed (Germany, and to a lesser degree, France). While this provides food for thought in terms of what (I think) needs to be front and centre in any republic debate, it's not terribly helpful in the immediate term.
A bit of an interesting study is the fortunes of Labour in the UK. The graph belowlead me on to this neat summary of UK elections. Elections worth nothing are:
- The 1900 election that gave the new party for organised labour their first seat
- The 1923 election where a fatal under-estimation by Asquith pretty well wrecked the Liberals as a force (losing progressive votes to the Labour Party and also out of fear to the Tories)
- The 1974 elections where the Labour party needed Liberal party support to form a minority government (these two elections seem the most similar to our current circumstances)
So what's it mean? I'm not really sure, but I'm wondering if the traditional Labor model is less relevant and just who was he long term winner in the recent deal between thee Greens and ALP. In both 1923 and 1974, the deals and ultimatums heralded longer term shifts in the political landscape.
The mentioned UK election results as a graph show the long term changes quite well UK elections 1832-2005