Consider this scenario. Three candidates run in a local election, and one of them gains only 34% of the popular vote. That person is then declared the winner and given a seat in Parliament―against the wishes of the majority of voters. This is plurality voting, a simple system whereby a candidate needs only to poll more votes than any other single opponent, rather than the combined opposition, to win a legislative scat. It is a system where coming in second counts for nothing, as demonstrated in the 1983 UK election results. Although the Liberal-SDP Alliance won a quarter of the total popular vote, it gained only 23 seats in the 650-seat Parliament. In contrast, the Conservative Party gained a mammoth 397 seats, or 61% of Parliament, with only 42% of the total vote. The massive disparity in seat numbers was possible simply because many of the Liberal-SDP Alliance candidates finished second in their constituency seats. Although plurality voting may not reflect the will of the majority, it is used by many democracies around the world. The system usually provides an easy choice for voters between two large parties―one center-left, the other center-right―that effectively dominate mainstream politics. The system has thus proved especially effective in shutting out parties at the ideological extremes of the political spectrum. In ethnically divided societies, plurality voting encourages political parties to present broad platforms, encompassing many elements of societal and ethnic groups. These parities are able to field a diverse group of candidates for election. In Malaysia, for example, the governing coalition puts Chinese candidates on the ballot in Malay areas and vice versa. Such representation gives the impression that the party really does represent all the people. The system is also widely used because it facilitates the democratic political process by allowing everyone, rich and poor, to vote in elections. A valid vote requires only one mark beside a photo or symbol of one candidate. This is invaluable for centuries where large sections of the population are illiterate.