Proportional representation

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Proportional representation is a system used to elect a country's government. The election gets works by taking the results of an election to decide how many seats each party has. Decisions are then made by the people who are elected.

Another way to do this is to take the first-past-the-post system in which constituencies vote in one member. The United Kingdom works this way.

In most western countries, there is more than one political party. Each elected representative will be a member of one or another party. If one party has an overall majority, then it forms the government. Otherwise the government must have members of more than one party.

Countries which use proportional representation include: Austria, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.

Countries which have systems that are similar or use semi-proportional representation include: Australia, Germany, Hungary, India, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and Thailand.

Similar principles apply to sub-regions, who may have their own parliament or assembly.