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Definition of Multi-party system

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government made up of members of several political parties
Multi-party system Definition from Encyclopedia Dictionaries & Glossaries
English Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia
A multi-party system is a system in which multiple political parties across the political spectrum run for national election, and all have a similar or equal chance of gaining control of government offices, separately or in coalition government. A Multiparty system exists when there are several parties that have a significant number of seats in the legislature. Although it is best reflects the various minority arguments on an issue, the multiparty system tends to divide the people into so many different factions, that the majority is completely lost, leaving only a set of competing minorities. In the vast majority of multi-party systems, numerous major and minor political parties hold a serious chance of receiving office, and because they all compete, a majority may not control the legislature, forcing the creation of a coalition. In some countries, every government ever formed since its independence has been by means of a coalition. Multi-party systems tend to be more common in parliamentary systems than presidential systems, and far more common in countries that use proportional representation compared to countries that use first past the post elections. This is because of Duverger's Law, which states that the number of viable political parties is one plus the number seats in a district. Proportional systems have multi-member districts, and thus a greater number of viable parties. It is very rare for national consensus on political issues apart from large issues such as national defence. First past the post requires concentrated areas of support for large representation in the Legislature whereas proportional representation better reflects the range of a population's views.

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