Meaning of Coalition: Types, Formed Theory, and Form

A coalition is – When talking about what a coalition is, surely Reader will think of a merger of political parties , right ? Yes, the term “coalition” is often used in matters related to politics in a country. Especially in our country, which has a democratic government system, surely the political parties have the same goal, which is to gain power and political position. However, the political parties will not be able to work with their own hands, but will need other political parties.

The use of the term “coalition” in the political field can apparently refer to a specific strategy in order to gain a position in government. Especially at a time like this, which is almost approaching the election schedule, surely political parties are forming coalitions to achieve the same goal. So what exactly is the coalition? Is it only limited to the merger of political parties? What is the shape of this coalition? What is the definition of political parties found in various countries including Indonesia? Well, for Reader to understand that, let’s read the following comments!

Definition of Coalition

If you look at KBBI (Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia), the term “coalition” means ‘cooperation between several parties to gain votes in parliament.‘. Meanwhile, according to Andrew Heywood, a coalition is the amalgamation of a group of competing political parties, together having a perception of interests, or in facing threats and in gathering collective energy. According to Shively, a coalition can be defined as a combination of several groups to control and gather power, so that the interests of the related parties can be accommodated. A coalition can also be interpreted as a form of formal agreement that has a joint contract between two or more political parties, in order to guarantee the power of the government based on the majority vote.

In short, the term “coalition” will always be related to matters in the political field, namely in the form of cooperation or merger between several political parties in order to achieve common interests, one of which is to obtain the most votes in an election .

This coalition turns out to be an effective way to bridge the various interests of political parties to jointly build and run a government in a country. Usually, this coalition is needed in countries that have a parliamentary system, that is, where the government is formed through a coalition in order to get the support of the majority in parliament. In contrast to countries that have a presidential system, which implements a dual party system, so that a coalition is not a necessity.

In Indonesia, the application of a coalition within a political party has a strong legal basis , you know , which is listed in the 1945 Constitution article 6A paragraph 2 which reads “Presidential and vice-presidential candidates are proposed by a political party or a combination of political parties participating in the general election before the general election” . Not only that, it turns out that the application of the coalition has also been regulated in Law Article 9 No. 42 of 2008 on the General Election of the President and Vice President, which reads:“A candidate pair is proposed by a political party or a combination of political parties participating in the election that meets the requirements of obtaining seats of at least 20% (twenty percent) of the total number of DPR seats or obtaining 25% (twenty-five percent) of the national valid votes in the election of members of the DPR, before the implementation of presidential and vice presidential elections”

Even during the reign of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in the period 2009-2014, the coalition of supporters in his party included around 423 out of 560 seats in parliament or around 75.5%! But it should be known , Reader , that the term “coalition” also has an opposite word, namely “opposition”. Therefore, even if the political parties do a joint coalition action, there will definitely be opposition parties that oppose it. That is something that is only natural .

Characteristics of Party Coalitions

If referring to a coalition of political parties, the merger has two characteristics namely tactical coalition and strategic coalition. Well, here is the description!

1. Tactical Coalition

Tactical coalition is the nature of the merger of political parties that are built not to fulfill the interests of the vision and ideology of the political parties. This coalition is built in connection with the decision of the power elite oligarchy which holds the highest power in a party.

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2. Strategic Coalition

A strategic coalition is the nature of the merger of political parties that is built to fulfill the interests of the vision and ideology of the political party, with the aim of jointly forming a strong and long-lasting government. Usually, this coalition is built on the basis of the political party’s institutional interests and the decision is made jointly with other coalition members.

Types of Party Coalitions

Broadly speaking, coalitions can be grouped into three types, namely:

1. Potential Coalitions

It is a situation where there is an emerging interest, so coalition action has the potential to be taken. In this type of coalition, it is further divided into two things, namely:

  • Latent, ie not yet formed into an active coalition.
  • Dormant, that is, a previous coalition has been formed but is no longer active.

2. Active Coalition

It is a kind of coalition that is going on. In this type, it is also divided into two things, namely:

  • Established Coalition , in the form of an active coalition, relatively stable, and lasting for an unlimited period of time.
  • Temporary Coalition (Temporary), in the form of a coalition that is formed for the short term and only focuses on a single issue.

3. Recurring Coalition

It is a temporary coalition that still continues because the single issue has not been resolved.

The formation of a coalition of political parties

In political science, there is a coalition theory that teaches that not all political parties are worthy and worthy to be used as partner members, especially in the formation of a coalition cabinet. Only certain political parties can create an effective and conducive coalition for the continuation and development of the party system. Therefore, this coalition theory divides into five main theories about how political party coalitions are formed, namely:

1. Minimal Winning Coalitions

This theory is compiled based on ideological tendencies from left to right, so that its formation is regardless of party position and ideological spectrum. This coalition has principles with the aim of maximizing power as much as possible in order to gain seats in the cabinet and ignore parties that are not needed.

2. Minimum Size Coalitions

In this theory, the party with the most votes tends to look for a smaller party to simply achieve a majority vote while also strengthening its position in parliament.

3. Bargaining Proposition

In this theory, the coalition with the least number of parties is also the coalition with the smallest party. The basic principle in this coalition is to facilitate the process of negotiation and bargaining because the members or partners of the coalition are few in number. It can even be said that the negotiation process that takes place in the body of the coalition can run without interruption because the coalition is the least.

4. Minimal Range Coalitions

In this theory, the basis of the coalition is closeness to the ideological tendency, making it easier for political parties to form a coalition. Unfortunately, in theory this coalition is not easy to form because it ignores the differences in direction and priorities of wisdom from each political party.

5. Minimally Connected Winning Coalitions

This theory of coalition is widely applied in countries because its basis is that the political parties that are in coalition are because each of them has closeness in their policy orientation. These political parties will seek coalition members from the closest party ideologically and reflected in the party’s policy orientation. In short, this coalition theory still pays attention to and is based on ideological equality.

Form of Political Party Coalition

The existence of a coalition that is usually applied to two or more political parties turns out to have several forms or types. The form or type of this political party coalition can be distinguished from the number of political parties or the number of seats in parliament that are incorporated into the coalition. Well, here are some forms or types of a political party coalition.

1. Big or Fat Coalition

In the form of this coalition, its formation is to include almost all political parties into the coalition, so that in the coalition there will be a number of political parties that exceed what has been required, in order to achieve majority support from parliament. That way, the government that runs will definitely get the support of the absolute majority from the political parties in parliament.

But unfortunately, this form of coalition can cause bargaining of interests and is difficult to integrate. The reason is because there are too many political parties in the coalition. The condition of this form of coalition can be seen in the coalition supporting the government of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) in the period 2009-2014, which at that time included 6 political parties and 423 out of 560 seats in parliament or around 75.5%.

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2. Limited Pass Coalition

In the form of this coalition, it was deliberately formed only to achieve the support of a simple majority in parliament without including political parties which are not necessary, in order to achieve majority support in parliament. In that way, the political parties that are included in this coalition have a limited number and only to achieve political power so that they can strengthen the way of government.

This Limited Pass Coalition is an ideal form of coalition because the support of a simple majority in a parliament is judged to be able to help the government at the same time create a constructive interaction between the president and the parliament.

The condition of this form of coalition can be seen in the 2009 Presidential Election, which was only done once because SBY managed to obtain 73,874,562 votes (around 60.80%) by defeating the Megawati-Prabowo and JK-Wiranto pairs.

3. Small Coalition

In this form of coalition, the coalition does not get the support of a simple majority in parliament, so it tends to create a divided government. When the executive and legislature are led by the strength of different political parties, it will make the government run ineffectively, and there is even a chance of the impeachment of the president.

Knowing What a Political Party Is

Previously, Reader had often encountered the term “political party”. So what exactly is a political party?

If you talk about what a political party is, surely Reader will think that in a political party there will be people who have a strong desire to sit in the parliament seat. Yes, based on the definition of a political party by Edmund Burke (1839) reveals that a political party is an organization that consists of people who are united, to promote the national interest together, based on the principles and things they agree on. Then according to Sigmund Neumann, he thinks that a political party is an organization that consists of political activists who try to occupy power in a government and grab support from the people through competition between groups that have different views or paradigms.

Then there is also an opinion from RH Soltau who reveals that a political party is a group of citizens who are slightly organized, who act as a political union and who use their power to choose, and aim to dominate the government while implementing their general wisdom. The existence of political parties in a country has an important position, especially on the scale of socio-economic policies from the coalition movement in the parliamentary system. Therefore, coalition actions become one of the effective ways to bridge various interests from political parties as well as become a channel for people’s aspirations.

According to the understanding above, it can be concluded that this political party is a liaison organization between active political actors in society and the government. The people who are in a political party do not come from a certain group, but rather people from various circles and various professions.

Functions of Political Parties in a Country

The existence of political parties in a country, one of which is in Indonesia, turns out to have a variety of strategic functions. Even the existence of political parties is also an important feature in the modern political system. Well, here is the explanation!

1. As a Means of Political Communication

A political party will play a role in articulating interests that are present or hidden in society. The interests found in a society will be absorbed as best as possible by the political party and at the same time become the idea, vision, and policy of the political party concerned. Then, those ideas and policies will later be advocated so that it is expected to be able to influence or even become official national policy material.

2. As a Means of Political Recruitment

In this case, political parties are indeed formed to be a legitimate “vehicle” in an effort to select cadres of national leaders accompanied by certain positions. If in a democratic country, then the cadres will be directly elected by the people through elections, for example they are members of the House of Representatives (DPR).

3. As Political Socialization

In this regard, political parties will try to form a political attitude and orientation towards society. Through several ways, the community will later be introduced and gain an understanding of ongoing political activities, both through political education and political indoctrination.

4. As Political Participation

In this case, political parties will be required to be able to encourage and invite members of the community to participate in political activities. Political parties will later open opportunities and invite party members as well as community members to use political parties as a channel of activity in an effort to influence the political process.

5. As Political Mobilization

In this case, the political party will invite a large number of individuals who were previously outside the system to join the system. If there is mobilization and setting the level of participation, then the political party can integrate individuals to enter an existing political system.