An electoral alliance may take the form of a bipartisan electoral agreement, electoral agreement, electoral coalition or electoral bloc. It is an association of political parties or individuals that exists solely to stand in elections. Each of the parties within the alliance has its own policies but chooses temporarily to put aside differences in favour of common goals and ideology. On occasion, an electoral alliance may be formed by parties with very different policy goals, which agree to pool resources to stop a particular candidate or party from gaining power.
Unlike a coalition formed after an election, the partners in an electoral alliance usually do not run candidates against one another but encourage their supporters to vote for candidates from the other members of the alliance. In some agreements with a larger party enjoying a higher degree of success at the polls, the smaller party fields candidates under the banner of the larger party, with the elected members of the smaller party sitting with the elected members of the larger party in the cabinet or legislature. They usually aim to continue co-operation after the election, for example by campaigning together on issues on which they have common views.
By offering to endorse or nominate a major party's candidate, minor parties can influence the candidate's platform.
Combination of lists
A combination of lists or informal list connection is in the Dutch electoral system a weak form of electoral alliance between two parties.
In a system of proportional representation not all seats are immediately divided, some seats remain undivided remainder seats. In the Netherlands these are allocated by the D'Hondt method. This method strongly favours larger parties (often smaller parties get no remainder seats, whereas the three largest parties get two each). But if smaller parties form an alliance their votes are added up for the distribution of seats, so this increases their chances of getting one. With a lijstverbinding or kartel two parties can pool their votes in order to gain more remainders seats.
Often these two parties are ideologically related, in the 2003 general elections for example the Socialist Party and GreenLeft formed a lijstverbinding. In the 2004 European elections the social-democratic PvdA and GreenLeft formed a lijstverbinding. The Orthodox Protestant Reformed Political Party and ChristianUnion also usually form a lijstverbinding.
For elections of the Senate the combination of lists has been abandoned. There is a proposal for law to abandon it for all elections.
In a common list two or more political parties share a list and often have a common political programme for the election. The participating political parties are identifiable for the voters because the names of these parties are mentioned on the voting paper. It is similar to electoral fusion.
The Syriza Party started out as an electoral alliance but then united into a single party.
- "Political Combinations in Elections". Harvard Law Review 45 (5): 906–912. March 1932. doi:10.2307/1332029. JSTOR 1332029. ISSN 0017-811X.
- Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in the United Kingdom
- Anti-Capitalist Alliance in New Zealand
- The Zionist Union in Israel
- Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc, which functioned in Ukraine, 2001-2011
- Coligação Democrática Unitária (Unitarian Democratic Coalition) in Portugal
- Labour Co-operative in the United Kingdom
- Ulster Conservatives and Unionists – New Force in the United Kingdom
- Socialist Alliance and Respect coalition in England
- Tripartite Alliance (including the ANC and SACP) in South Africa
- Mesa de la Unidad Democrática in Venezuela