Proportional representation

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Proportional representation (PR) is a goal of voting systems. While some systems that pursue this goal (such as closed party list) can address other proportionality issues (gender, religion, ethnicity), and these advantages are often used to promote such variants, it is not a feature of PR as such to ensure an even split of men vs. women, ethnic or religious representation that resembles the population, or any other goal. As it is used in practice in politics, the only proportionality being respected is a close match between the percentage of votes that groups of candidates obtain in elections in representative democracy, and the percentage of seats they receive (e.g., in legislative assemblies). Thus a more exact term is party-proportional representation , sometimes used by those who wish to highlight systems that emphasize party choice less, candidate or gender choice more, or who wish not to promote systems (such as closed party-list mixed-member proportional) that overly empower the parties, at the expense of voter choice of exactly which individuals go to the legislature as representatives. In contrast those who subordinate gender, ethnic, religious, regional or candidate choice to party choice (usually party members themselves) often use the term full representation. This terminology debate is considered central to the winning (or losing) of electoral reform referendums by some advocates who consider referenda to have been lost by it. See notes below.


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