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In praise of coalitions

[This editorial is also available in Ukrainian.]

If there is one lesson that national politics in Europe can teach democracies, it is the usefulness of coalitions.

Indeed, within the European Union, only Greece and Malta, and so far, France, do not have a government comprising several political parties. In all the other legislative elections, the results have been fragmented, making sometimes unexpected alliances necessary to achieve stable government in the general interest.

For France, this is a novelty. Everything in its institutions apparently conspires against the formation of coalition governments: its Constitution, a two-round majority voting system, its traditions, its Gallic and immoderate taste for conflict, its weak culture of compromise.

And yet the results of the 7 July elections will force the French political parties to come together. The country's interests demand it as much as public opinion, which will not accept posturing and procrastination for long.

A coalition, to form or support a government, is the beginning of overcoming, the beginning of wisdom, and sometimes the guarantee of effectiveness. Faced with the complexity of public problems, there are no longer any peremptory certainties, ideological outbursts or single truths. To solve them, we need to combine analyses, discuss solutions and share strengths.

By agreeing to set aside their personal and partisan interests and accept a minimal legislative programme in the best interests of the country, far from falling into disrepute, French politicians would be joining a virtually unanimous European practice that respects citizens and democratic rules when it is transparent and assumed.