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Conflict or consensus.

Parliaments following the British tradition seat MPs on | opposite sides of a central aisle. They are separated, tradition says, by a distance equivalent to at least two sword lengths. This places MPs of differing political views directly opposite each other; face-to-face confrontation is enhanced by the physical layout. Most other parliaments are arranged in a half circle (the U.S. Senate and Israel's Knesset are examples), a configuration that's supposed to generate greater cooperation. However, American and Israeli legislators still get hot tempered during political debate. Some Parliament watchers think that removing conflict would improve the legislative process. But, does consensual politics make for better government? A 1993 survey that found 44% of Canadians feeling positive about Parliament, found only 23% of Germans, where consensus politics is common, feeling the same way.
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Title Annotation:seating arrangements of parliaments
Publication:Canada and the World Backgrounder
Date:Sep 1, 1997
Previous Article:From bill to law: a complicated system is involved in the making of laws.
Next Article:The first commoner.

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