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The United States and the nations of western Europe are all democracies. However, they are not organized in the same way. What are some of the differences in institutional structure between the United States and western Europe? What are the causes of those differences? Which is the most significant difference and why is it most significant to you?

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Although the United States and other countries such as France, England, and other members of the European Union are all labelled as democracies, their political structures differ in detail. Perhaps the major difference is political parties and the differences between parliaments and Congress.

Many European countries are multi-party democracies, in which voters send members to parliaments where the party with a majority or a majority coalition forms a government. The Prime Minister is chosen by the party or coalition that forms a government rather than being elected separately. The Prime Minister is Head of Government, while the ceremonial role of Head of State is usually taken by a President or constitutional monarch. Some European countries have formally bicameral legislatures, but for others the upper chamber either does not exist or plays a more limited role than the United States Senate.

The most significant difference is between a two-party system, as a multi-party one ensures more representation for minority opinions and voices.

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