After the 1998 general elections to the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic, the largest party, the Social Democrats, formed a minority government. The formation of this government was puzzling for at least four reasons. First, according to the so-called Opposition Pact, the minority government was supported from the outside by the conservative Civic Democratic Party, the principal opponent of the Social Democrats in the party system. Second, the grand legislative coalition was not followed by the sharing of executive portfolios between the two largest parties. Third, the two parties entered into this agreement only weeks after they had explicitly stated their unwillingness to govern together. Fourth, neither theories of coalition formation nor those of minority government formation provide an accurate prediction for this outcome. This article provides a solution for these puzzles based on a game theoretic analysis.

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