Theres Matthieß
Equal Performance of Minority and Majority Coalitions? Pledge Fulfilment in the German State of NRW

German Politics, 2019: 28, Heft 1, S. 123-144
ISSN: 0964-4008 (print), 1743-8993 (online)

This study examines how a government’s majority status affects coalition governance and performance. Two steps are investigated: the inclusion of government parties’ electoral pledges into the coalition agreement, and the ability to translate pledges into legislative outputs. The main results of a comparative analysis of 183 pledges of a minority (without a formal support partner) and majority coalition in the German State North Rhine-Westphalia indicate that government parties with minority status include fewer pledges in the coalition agreement. But this does not mean that they also perform badly at pledge fulfilment. In fact, they show an equivalent performance in fulfilling election pledges, at least partially, when compared to majority government parties. However, there is tentative evidence that the prime minister’s party shows a lower quality of pledge fulfilment, as measured by a higher share of partially enacted pledges.