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Three Types of Majority Rule

Weale, A; (2019) Three Types of Majority Rule. The Political Quarterly , 90 (S1) pp. 62-76. 10.1111/1467-923X.12570. Green open access

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Abstract

UK political history since 2010 has provided us with three examples of how the principle of majority rule can operate in a democracy: 2010 produced coalition government; 2015 a return to the norm of single‐party government; and 2017 a minority government. Each illustrates a particular type of majority rule. Theoretically, majority rule captures the value of democratic fairness, but its seeming obviousness disappears once political competition involves more than two alternatives. The traditional Westminster system skirts around this problem by making the relevant majority the parliamentary one, without the need for parliamentary majorities to rest on electoral majorities. The principle of a double majority is that governments should rest both on parliamentary and on electoral majorities, a principle illustrated by the pattern of German coalition governments. However, even in such systems there may be no overall majority position. The principle of the issue‐by‐issue majority is exemplified in Nordic democracies, in which minority governments need to secure ad hoc agreement on particular elements of their programme. It is possible to combine these principles and this possibility is illustrated by a putative reform of the UK House of Lords.

Type: Article
Title: Three Types of Majority Rule
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/1467-923X.12570
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-923X.12570
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10068204
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