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multiparty system


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Regime where more than two political parties are in serious contention for power, alone or in coalition. Multiparty systems usually coexist with proportional representation (PR) (see Duverger's law), but the association is not unbreakable. For instance, Germany and Ireland have PR but relatively few parties; while Canada has had numerous parties contending for power, though usually only two or at most three in any one district, thanks to the effect of the electoral system. The pattern of political cleavage is more fundamental than PR in determining the number of parties in a regime.

Subjects: Social sciencesPolitics


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