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The ERS argue that since 1974 the growing strength of third and other small parties, in particular the Liberal Democrats, has increased the chance of a hung parliament (where no party or coalition of parties can control a majority of seats in Parliament). They show that this has happened because the number of votes for the small parties has increased and the number of marginal seats has fallen, meaning that greater swings in the vote are required for seats to change hands than was previously the case. The ERS argue that the Liberal Democrats are unlikely to lose many seats in the forthcoming elections even if their national vote was to decline somewhat, meaning that the two big parties are unlikely to reach 40 percent of the vote. Therefore, they consider that FPTP will continue to deliver winning parties with significantly less than 50 percent of the vote, raising concerns about the legitimacy of those governments. However, another key contributing factor which increases disproportional outcomes is declining voter turn-out, about which the causes are not straightforward. Voter turn-out is discussed in more detail in Section B.

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