In this method, decisions are designed to reflect the proportions of the group membership that hold different views.
This system of decision-making works like a cross between consensus and majority rule. A proportional outcome could mean that a majority-favoured solution is adopted along with a decision to accept part of a minority position, or to compensate those supporting the minority position in some other way. Alternatively it can be built into a process of decision-making where minority interests are given slightly more weight in determining the outcome.
Proportional outcomes are also used in elections in many countries. With a system of proportional representation, citizens cast their votes for different political parties, and then the seats in the Parliament or National Assembly are assigned according to the proportion of total votes that each party receives.
One of the positive aspects of this system is that it ensures a parliament that reflects the real mix of views in society.
In the final section of this unit, we consider the way in which the Commonwealth operates to ensure democracy in its activities.