> The second complaint is an inherent instability of such system - as soon as smaller ones are paid, or as soon as larger ones are unable to keep paying (paying doesn't have to be money, of course - can be policies, appointments, etc.) the coalition breaks down and the shopping season starts again.
To me this reads like an extremely cynical interpretation of what "working together" looks like. As someone who lives in a country with this style of government, I would hardly interpret it like that.
It's more like niches actually have a voice because they control some of the vote. I had never really seen that as a bad thing until you put it in those terms.
In reality, the leading parties can still govern, they'll just have a harder time pushing pet legislation through without the co-operation of the other parties. The other parties use that to their advantage so they and their constituents can be heard.
> offend [the electorate] by openly extorting the larger parties
How is this extortion exactly? In a system like this, the ruling party can still lead just fine, they just don't get unilateral control over everything if they don't get that much of the vote. I don't know how that can be spun as a bad thing.
It all depends on political culture. If the voters for the small parties are community-minded enough to not let their representatives go too far - it may work. If not - it would be a mess. "Constituents to be heard" can mean very different things - from actual concerns of minority to pure and overt bribery. It sometimes comes to minor parties openly saying "if you don't give us one minister post, X percent of the budget and except our constituency from Y legislation that hurts their pockets - we won't vote with you". Of course, it happens in 2-party system too - see what happens with unions and other "vote contractors".
>> In a system like this, the ruling party can still lead just fine
The whole point that it can't without a stable majority. You need majority to pass budgets, appropriations, appoint officials, etc. And if your opponents can get a majority - even temporary - they can pass a law dissolving the government and declaring new elections at any time they think they'd have advantage. Imagine something bad happening on your watch and next week opposition declaring you are at fault and calling for new elections because they think now the vote will swing their way. If the citizens are willing to accept this kind of games - and in many countries they frequently are - it will work. It sounds cynical, but I have seen such things happen. It is exactly as disgusting as you think it is, but it is what it is.
> Imagine something bad happening on your watch and next week opposition declaring you are at fault and calling for new elections because they think now the vote will swing their way.
As someone who has only lived under this system of government, I find it hilarious to see this phrased as a bad thing. Having scheduled elections with the insane run-up the US has is so, SO much more painful.
"Call an election" here means a quick, 30 day race. The US election feels like it starts the moment the previous one finishes. I would much rather have somewhat more frequent elections that are quick and painless than the scheduled, drawn out slaughter-fest that is American presidential elections.
> If the citizens are willing to accept this kind of games
I really don't see the "game" in a party stopping bad legislation from screwing things up by dissolving government. FFS it's not like it happens every time they have a little spat. Usually it is major things like the budget. I have no problem with a party being forced out because they can't collaborate on a budget.