In governments with a hemicycle shaped parliment, left wing parties and right wing parties tend to sit on the side of the parliment that more closely matches their ideaology.

However I was wandering how parties decide between them who get's to sit where?

For instance looking at the Belgian parliment which has two socialist parties Vooruit (the Flemish socialist party) sits to the right of Parti Socialiste (the Walloon socialist party) even though their two ideaologies should be very similar.

I'm sure there are other situations similar to what I've listed above, how do they usually handle this?

If this differs country by country could I have examples? at least one of how it's done in Belgium.

  • Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking.
    – Community Bot
    Dec 8, 2021 at 23:50
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    It sounds pretty apparent what they're asking to me. In a typical parliament that is shaped like a semicircle, the parties sit in such a fashion that they're sorted according to their political positions, from Left to Right. They want to know how parties with similar positions decide who sits on the left or right of who.
    – nick012000
    Dec 9, 2021 at 5:06
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    You should first check if the position of the MPs are assigned due to their political views. For example, in Spain (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congress_of_Deputies) PSOE and PP use the wings, while other parties more to the left (Unidas Podemos) and to the right (Vox) are in the center. IIRC, positions at the wings are more coveted (I think it had to do because they were shown more prominently on TV, for example in lateral planes of the speaker), and so the bigger parties get them.
    – SJuan76
    Dec 9, 2021 at 10:26
  • I think that your premise is wrong. If I look at the Belgian parliament that you use as an example they are definitely not ranked from left-wing to right-wing: dekamer.be/kvvcr/pdf_sections/depute/hemi.pdf Dec 9, 2021 at 12:57
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    The EU parliament uses this system The places assigned to Members in the Chamber are decided by political affiliation, from left to right, by agreement with the group chairs. europarl.europa.eu/about-parliament/en/organisation-and-rules/…
    – Nemo
    Dec 9, 2021 at 19:25

1 Answer 1


The terms "left wing" and "right wing" were assigned to liberals and conservatives respectively based upon the way that legislators in an early French legislative body ended up choosing to sit without being formally assigned seats.

In politics, the term Left derives from the French Revolution as the political groups opposed to the royal veto privilege (Montagnard and Jacobin deputies from the Third Estate) generally sat to the left of the presiding member's chair in parliament while the ones in favour of the royal veto privilege sat on its right. That habit began in the French Estates General of 1789.


In the modern period, the terms are divorced from actual seating arrangements.

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