South Africa, coalition and form of government: semi-presidentialism a tertium genus?


  • Pieter Labuschagne, Professor University of South Africa



Coalition, Coalition government, Form of government, Presidential system, Semi-presidential system, Parliamentary system, Minority party, Koalisie, Koalisie regering, Regeringsvorm, Presidensiële stelsel, Parlementêre stelsel, Semi-presidensiële stelsel, Minderheidsparty


The decline in support for the ruling ANC party in the 2016 municipal election has opened for the first time the likelihood of a coalition government in South Africa. However, there remain a number of questions and uncertainties regarding coalitions and their perceived success in providing stability. The formation of coalitions in parliamentary systems is well researched; however, many gaps exist in the available literature regarding coalitions in presidential systems and variations of presidential systems in South America. In both systems, the instability of coalition formation has raised fundamental questions about the interrelationship between the various forms of government and the success and duration of coalitions. The fundamental question is how well coalition governments in the different forms of government relate to fulfilling the goals of government stability, securing enduring legislative majorities, and encouraging democratic practices, including the ability to hold the shared leadership structure accountable. The article examines South Africa’s form of government with the aim of ascertain its ability to accommodate a coalition.


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