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The 'pure' PR system of the Netherlands, for example, is designed to prevent single parties or leaders becoming too dominant. However, new parties can emerge and gain a share of power, as the party of Pim Fortuyn did briefly in 2002 resulting in another election in 2003. With up to ten parties being represented in the Netherlands, the chance of instability may be greater. Overall, coalition government has been stable for the most part in the Netherlands since the early 1970s, with elections every 3-4 years but the year following the 2002 election saw a coalition break-down, resulting in an early election in 2006. In Sweden, coalition governments have usually featured the Social Democrats, with the proportional list system allowing the support from six other parties to ebb and flow as political circumstances change. Whilst the General election held in Sweden on 17 September 2006 saw the ruling Social Democrats and their left-wing allies narrowly defeated by the centre- right alliance, the defeated Prime Minister had previously held that position for 10 years. In the Republic of Ireland, there have been coalition or minority governments since 1989, during which time the Irish economy has undergone a highly successful economic transformation. A more detailed analysis of the experience of these three countries can be found in Chapter 7.

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