>"Confidence and Supply": Czechs ahead of Kiwis?


Much talk in relation to Scotland of the signing of a possible ‘confidence and supply’ agreement in which a party – possibly the Lib Dems in Scotland – agrees to enable another party to take (and remain) in office as a minority administration and pass a budget, without concluding formal coalition and forcing ad hoc agreement on parliamentary votes on most other issues. This draws on the New Zealand experience of 2005 when a Confidence and Supply Agreement was signed between two minor parties, New Zealand First and United Future, and the Labor Party to enable the latter to stay in office, having suffered losses in the election to a resurgent National Party.
Briefly reading through the agreement with NZ First (link above), it seems damn similar in conception and even specific provision to the Opposition Agreement signed seven years earlier in the Czech Republic in 1998, also to allow a minority Social Democrat government to take office. The Czech Social Democrats were then very much an untried force, rather like the SNP and like the SNP had emerged as winner of an election with a perceived moral right to take office. Much slated at the time as clientelistic stitch-up between the two big parties, as Andrew Roberts has persuasively argued in Europe-Asia Studies in 2003 it worked rather well. Certainly, the Czechs shaped up for EU accession without too much problem. The Agreement is, however, seen as totally discredited in Czech politics today and ‘confidence and supply’ was very much off the agenda after the deadlocked elections on 2006, although I guess the problem was that it would again have required agreement between the two main parties after a polzrized and brusing election campaign. As if Labour were to provide ‘confidence and supply’ to the SNP.

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