Is a multi-party system a mockery of democracy?

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As with most questions, this one can be answered in many ways.  Let us look at arguments for and against the idea that a multi-party system is a mockery of democracy.

The most logical argument for this idea is that multi-party systems give too much power to small minorities of...

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As with most questions, this one can be answered in many ways.  Let us look at arguments for and against the idea that a multi-party system is a mockery of democracy.

The most logical argument for this idea is that multi-party systems give too much power to small minorities of the populace. In a system that has many parties, is relatively easy to have a situation in which no major party wins a majority of the seats in the legislature.  At that point, the larger parties have to start building coalitions to attract the support of the smaller parties.  Often, the larger parties have to give up significant concessions in order to get support from the smaller parties.  The smaller parties, with very little support in the populace, can hold up the agendas of the larger parties that have much more support.  As the links below show us, some in Australia feel that this is a problem with their system.  We can argue that it is a mockery of democracy when a small percentage of the people can (through their representative) thwart the will of a much larger percentage.

On the other hand, we can certainly argue that a multi-party system is even more democratic than a two-party system.  In a two-party system, voters have only two choices.  When they choose one of the parties, they often have to choose a party which does not agree with them on many issues.  For example, in the United States, a person who wanted both abortion rights and less government regulation of the economy would not feel comfortable in either the Democratic or Republican party today.   In a multi-party system, it is much more likely that a voter can find a party that agrees with his or her beliefs much more completely.  This gives voters a better chance to make their voices heard, which makes this system anything but a mockery of democracy.

Which of these arguments makes more sense to you?

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