According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition states “coalition” as a “temporary alliance of distinct parties, persons or states for joint action.” Usually,  coalition is associated with politics, although it is not limited to it.


The word “coalition” derives from Latin “coalesce,” which means “to unite for a common end,”; and the meaning has not changed much since then. It is possible to say that a coalition is associated with politics in the first place. In parliamentary countries, coalitions are usually formed during and after elections so that they can take part in the building of a government. When a coalition comes to power, a coalition government is formed.

There are many examples of a political coalition in the world, such as in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, Belgium, Armenia, Ireland, Japan, etc. In Canada, the first political alliance was formed as long ago as in 1864 and had the name of The Great Coalition.

Another prime example is Finland, where the coalition government has existed since the country’s independence as no party has not had the majority in the parliament. A similar situation is in the Republic of Ireland, where a coalition government has existed since 1977 as no single party could have had a majority.

It is important to have the notions of “coalition” and “alliance” not confused. They are very close in meaning and sometimes are used as synonyms, although their aims are a little different. The coalition is formed to achieve a common goal, whereas alliance is a union formed for mutual benefit or interests and happens between countries or organizations.

However, both coalition and alliance are not limited to politics as they can be used in different contexts: financial, military, or commercial. For example, the oldest non-profit advocacy group in the US is The National Coalition for the Homeless. It is a network of activists committed to a single mission: eliminate homelessness.