Majority System

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Majority System


in bourgeois state law, a system for determining the results of elections to representative bodies. Under the majority system the candidate (or list of candidates) that receives the majority of votes as established by law is considered to have been elected in a given district. Modern bourgeois states use the absolute majority system and the relative majority system (the USA, Great Britain, India, and Mexico).

Under the absolute majority system, the candidate who receives the absolute (or simple) majority of the total number of votes cast and recognized as valid (that is, 50 percent plus one) is considered to have been elected. If none of the candidates receives the required number of votes, the two candidates who received the greatest number of votes compete on a second ballot. Instead of a second ballot, a second round of voting is sometimes held, the results of which are determined by another majority system. In France, for example, where the absolute majority system is used in elections to the National Assembly, the relative majority system is used in the second round.

Under the relative majority system, the candidate who receives more votes than any of his opponents is considered the winner. In countries where this system is used, a parliamentary majority is often won by a party that does not have the support of the majority of the electorate.

There is another majority system, the qualified system, under which two-thirds or three-fourths of the total number of votes cast are required for a victory. It is used very rarely (for example, in elections to the Italian Senate). However, insofar as only a small minority of candidates receive 65 percent of the votes of the electorate, parliamentary seats are distributed according to a proportional system of representation.

Depending on the number of deputies elected from each electoral district, majority systems are classified as uninominal, or one-mandate (single-member districts), and polynominal, or multimandate systems (multiple-member districts).

In the bourgeois states both forms of majority systems are undemocratic. The majority system is not representative, because a parliament formed as a result of majority system elections does not, as a rule, reflect the actual balance of political forces and the roles of the different parties. For example, in elections to the National Assembly in France (March 1973) the Communists received as many votes as the ruling party (the Union of Democrats for the Republic), but the latter received twice as many seats as the Communists. Moreover, under the multiparty system in the bourgeois states, the majority system always favors the powerful bourgeois parties, and the considerable number of votes cast by the electorate for small parties have no effect.

Because the use of the majority system results in a serious distortion of the will of the electorate in the interests of the ruling circles, democratic forces in the bourgeois countries are fighting for the introduction of proportional systems of representation, under which seats in a representative body are distributed in proportion to the number of votes received by each party. This system more accurately expresses the will of the electorate.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Village councils retained the majority system, for this reason 86 village councils do not have women," MP Altybayeva said.
For example, the Inter-American Development Bank has a double majority system, whereby the winning candidate must gain a majority of shareholder votes, as well as an absolute majority of votes from regional governors.
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Under this arrangement, the majority system has been replaced and the threshold needed to win an election lowered -- a plan that should benefit independents and reformers, easing the grip on the power of the country's main clans.
It replaces the old majority system. The voters can cast a ballot, the preference vote, for a single contender in the list -- an option speculated to allow independent figures and non-partisan personalities to win some seats at expense of the dominating, largely confessional political parties.
The idea reflects criticism that a candidate who does not gain majority public support is elected under the current simple majority system.
Al-Maliki pointed to the failure of the system of quotas in Iraq, calling on everyone to choose the natural order on which all the democracies of the developed world, the majority system that if the government formed according to the agreed program assume responsibility without any disclaimer or shortening and not throw the ball in the court of others as it gets now in Iraq, as everyone participates in the government and invests the state, but at the time of assuming responsibility, they turn away and throw the default on the other as if they are benefit partners and not statesmen.
More than 95 per cent said yes to that change, in favour of a majority system.
Earlier, the fate of the Upper House was in limbo after President Bidya Devi Bhandari put on hold the National Assembly election ordinance, forwarded by the Cabinet more than two months ago, due to the dispute among the parties over whether to adopt majority system and single transferable vote (STV) system for the election of upper house.
It is not clear, however, what kind of a majority system MPs would go for when the proposal is discussed since no specific type was included in the referendum question.
Ozal advocated that the president must retain the authorities that were granted by the 1982 Constitution, that a presidential election must be held every five years by a national vote based on a two-round absolute majority system, and that the presidential election must be held concurrently with the parliamentary election.(4) A prominent political figure of the period, the late chairman of the MHP, Alparslan Turkes, silently followed the debates and did not speak negatively on the matter.