As GHK Lall commented (KN Feb 19), any small party on its own or in combination that wins one or more seats is likely to be a kingmaker in the new parliament and maybe in government. But as he noted, the possibility of a small party winning a seat or more is very remote. One should not underestimate the support of small parties. Three of them (and I am not referring to the three that is in a combination) are doing quite well and may shock the naysayers of their popularity. There is a pool of voters who are unhappy with the two behemoths. No matter what they will not vote for the larger parties. If they don’t split up their votes among the seven small contenders, and if they vote strategically, then a few seats can be won by the smaller parties. Only three small parties have a chance at representation in parliament.
The electorate is indeed polarized and the two larger parties are collaring the bulk of the votes (way over 90%). This leaves little for the smaller parties. Nevertheless, a few minor parties, as political scientists like me call them, are in the fray. And if they pick up a few seats, the winner or even the official opposition, both larger parties, will woo them. If neither of the larger parties gets a majority in parliament, the smaller parties that win seats will be kingmakers. Their support will be needed for government survival or death. The government will have to rule responsibly and share decision making as well as resources with them. Power will be shared. Arrogance will be tamed. The smaller parties will hold the winner accountable. Incompetent and inept ministers will have to find amity life of work. More money will be spent on improving living if the nation rather than fattening the bank account of officials. Governance will improve. Corruption will be reduced. Racial tension will ease up since government will be forced to cooperate with the opposition. The quality of life will get better. Standard of living will go up.
But will the smaller parties get seats and or deny the winner a majority? The two major parties know the answer from their polls. All polls conducted around the same time will give similar findings. Parties May spin poll findings or make exaggerated claims that are (or not) found in polls. Objective, unaligned polls know whether small parties will win seats and which ones. Four of them will not even come close to a seat — no chance whatsoever. They will not be in a position to be a kingmaker. And kingmaker status of any small party depends on the winner not getting a majority. But it is possible that a larger party could get a majority.
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