The challenge: Could I manipulate the mixed member proportional system so that a party with less than 50% of the vote could still form a majority government? The answer is a surprising yes, and this article describes how. However, please note that this article is neither pro or anti MMP. It is simply one political hack's obsessive interest in doing things he should not be able to do.
Okay. Let's suppose I am a backroom hack for the popular Ontario People's Party (OPP). The OPP can usually count on between 40 to 45% support. They have historically been the dominant party and usually win a majority government, with between 2/3 to 3/4 of the seats, even though in their history they have never received a majority of the vote. (Sound familiar?) These majority governments with less than majority support have been achieved because of the dynamics of the first-past-the-post system. However, with MMP they should only receive 40-45% of the seats. But there is a way to circumvent that.
First, a sister party to the OPP is created - the Ontario Canada Party (OCP). The OCP shares all of the same principles and platform of the OPP except that they are more hardline federalists. Essentially, the die-hard federalists of the party have created their own wing of the party and branched off. They represent about 1/3 of the party. As such, they have about 13 to 15% of the general population. Their campaign is focused primarily on die-hard federalist issues.
The second step is that the OCP decides they will not contest a single local riding. Instead, they will only run province wide for the list candidates. As such, an acceptable alliance can be formed between the OPP and their new "sister" party the OCP. Indeed, the OPP encourages its supporters with OCP leanings to vote for OPP local candidates but to cast their second vote for the OCP, for reasons that will become apparent later.
The results. For the 90 local seats up for grabs, the OPP wins their typical 2/3 to 3/4 of the seats. Lets say they win 63. The OCP did not win a single local seat because they did not contest any of them. However, they received 15% of the vote and are therefore entitled to 15% of the 39 list seats. That gives them six seats. In the legislature the OCP caucuses with their sister party, the OPP, and they form a majority government with 69 of the 129 seats. They are able to form this majority government even though between the two of them they have less than 50% of the vote.