Enhancing Decision-Making in Multi-Party Systems

In a multi-party system with periodic elections, parties often seek alliances with similar parties to form a coalition that holds a majority of seats. These coalitions are formed after each election and involve discussions about the laws they plan to implement until the next election. By making deals, parties aim to maximize their influence and achieve their goals based on the seats they hold.


The process of forming a coalition is difficult because it requires planning ahead until the next election. In practice this can be so difficult that the formation takes many months during which few if any political decisions are made.

In addition, an early election may be triggered by a majority vote of elected seats. In practice such early elections are common, which means that the proportion of time spent on coalition formation increases. This results in a less effective government due to the limited time available for governance and decision-making.

Continuous voting

Shorter periods between votes should lead to a shorter formation period. Taking this concept to the extreme would mean implementing continuous voting. Under continuous voting, an individual’s election vote remains valid until they choose to recast it, which can be done at any time.

With continuous voting, since there is no period until the next election to plan for, there is no longer a purpose to forming a coalition. Parties should still make deals with each other, but only in the moment, one vote at a time. Such deals can be made by combining law proposals. In the following example, parties Gryffindor and Hufflepuff help each other by voting on a proposal that combines proposals Yellow and Red.

Proposal Yellow Red Orange
Gryffindor In favor Neutral In favor
Hufflepuff Neutral In favor In favor
Slytherin Against Against Against


In terms of ministerial appointments, coalitions often determine how ministerial posts are filled for day-to-day execution of governmental tasks. In the absence of a coalition, the allocation of ministerial positions is decided by a vote among elected seats, similar to the voting process for laws. This means that there is no fixed period for appointing ministers. Instead, ministers can be replaced at any time through voting and can remain in their positions until they are replaced.

The role of prime minister, which typically represents the country internationally and may coincide with a ministerial position, is handled in the same way as the ministerial posts.


Continuous voting in a multi-party system eliminates the fixed timeline for coalition formation, enabling parties to engage in momentary deals and collaborations on a vote-by-vote basis. This dynamic process leads to more efficient decision-making.

Written on July 17, 2023