An electoral system is a device for translating the votes won by candidates in elections into an authoritative outcome, such as seats in a Parliament. Free, fair and frequent elections are essential conditions for any functioning democracy. Determining the best way of translating votes into an election outcome is an exercise fraught with difficulty. Notwithstanding widespread agreement that elections should be free, fair and frequent, there can be disagreement over what fairness means and over other fundamental goals. Should, for example, the prime consideration in an electoral system be achieving an outcome that mirrors the opinion of voters? Or is putting into place a stable and 'strong' government of greater importance?