Beijing Law Review
2013. Vol.4, No.2, 77-81
Published Online June 2013 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 77
Democratic Rights: Decision-Making by Law Makers and
Law Enforcers
Peter Emerson
The de Borda Institute, Belfast, UK
Received January 19th, 2013; revised February 21st, 2013; accepted March 1st, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Peter Emerson. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attri-
bution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the
original work is properly cited.
The court of law is often adversarial; the more usual question, after all, is binary: guilty or not guilty? The
parliament which makes the law, however, need not subject complex questions to dichotomous judge-
ments, or a series of dichotomies: indeed, the corresponding debate should consider all relevant options
on an equal basis. Accordingly, this article questions the propriety of a majoritarian polity, considers a
less adversarial voting procedure, and contemplates a more inclusive political structure, in order then to
argue that human rights legislations should be far more specific on the subject of democratic rights. Such
a development may depend less upon the politician and more upon the lawyer.
Keywords: Consensus; Power-Sharing; Modified Borda Count
In many instances, the legal process deals with matters of
guilt or innocence. In a court of law, then, the question is often
dichotomous—guilty or not guilty?—and this definitely applies
to any case concerned with a suspected crime1. The ruling
could go either way; so, given the frailties of the human species,
reliance is often placed not just on a single person, a judge, but
on a group of people, the jury.
Politics, in contrast, is not always concerned with such stark
dichotomies: some topics are viewed in these terms—capital
punishment, abortion and so on—and in any debates thereon,
many politicians take sides, arguing for or against that which
they consider to be right or wrong. Others subjects of discus-
sion—an extreme example relates to the choice: on which side
of the road shall we drive?2—are not connected to moralistic
values at all. Is it wise, therefore, to reduce such subjects, let
alone such complex issues as Iraq in 20023, to a closed question
and subsequent resolution (or not, as the case may be) by an
adversarial, for-or-against majority vote? If the answer to this is
positive, then majority rule has some justification. If, however,
other decision-making procedures might be more appropriate,
then is it right that so many parliaments should divide into two
opposing blocs, a government versus an opposition4? Or should
more inclusive democratic structures become the norm? If so,
should constitutional lawyers consider some amendments to
current human rights charters and other international agree-
ments? In a word, should they scrutinise the right of a majority
to rule?
In attempting to answer these questions, this paper first ex-
amines the more obvious weaknesses and dangers of majority
voting; next, it looks at the historical causes of these deficien-
cies; then it wonders whether more inclusive structures would
be more appropriate; and finally, it outlines what sort of prince-
ples should be regarded as the bases of any future human rights
The Two-Option Majority Vote
In many instances of great complexity, or even on relatively
uncomplicated matters but in plural societies, the simple binary
vote may not be the most appropriate methodology by which all
concerned may come to an agreement. Take, for instance, the
current debates in Washington over the fiscal cliff. In such a
partisan structure, both the Democratic and the Republican
Parties have a vested interest in the failure of the other. If one
party puts forward a proposal, the obvious inclination for the
other party is to vote against, almost regardless of the qualities
of that proposal. If someone suggests the threshold for higher
rates of tax should be “x”, for example, others will want to say
1The divorce court may be less confrontational, and in like manner, some
litigation cases may also apportion blame to both parties. Usually, however,
the legal process is based on the premise that one party is guilty while the
other is innocent. It is interesting to note that, in some African cultures,
disputes are tackled by the court on the basis that both plaintiffs are, initially
at least, “in the right” (Kapuściński, 2002: p. 315).
2Interestingly enough, the only country ever to hold a referendum on this
question—Sweden in 1955—had three options on the agenda: “left”, “right”
and “blank” (Emerson, 2012: p. 15).
3In Oct. 2002, when the UN Security Council debated Iraq, everything was
on the table—sanctions, inspections, diplomacy, and the threat and/or use o
force—but only one motion was voted on: Resolution 1441, for or against.
4In some countries, as in the US, the majority party rules Congress, while
(as at present) the other majority party has control of the House of Repre-
sentatives; such practice might be justifiable in a strictly two-party society.
In the UK, however, where two of the three parties have formed a majority
coalition, is it right that the Lib-Dems should be in government while the
much larger Labour Party is not? In multi-
arty jurisdictions, the practice
renders the theory even more of a mockery: see note 11.
“no”. Would it not be better if, instead of saying “no”, they put
forward their own proposal of “y”, “z”, or whatever?
Or take another example. In the wake of the Arab Spring,
Tunisia, Libya and Egypt have all elected new parliaments, and
in a rather controversial process5, in Dec. 2012, the last named
approved a new constitution by referendum. But that same
methodology was used by Libya: in 1971, shortly after his coup
détat, Muammar Gaddafi managed to get 98.7 per cent support
for his Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. The case in Iran is even more
glaring: in 1953, the Iranian electorate voted overwhelmingly to
be, in effect, socialist—99.8 per cent; ten years later came the
“white revolution” and an even greater percentage, 99.9, chose
a capitalist orientation; later on, they (supposedly) changed
their minds yet again and opted for an Islamic republic, albeit
this time with only 99.3 percent (Emerson, 2012: p. 148.)
In the light of such evidence, the accuracy of the two-option
referendum as a means of reflecting the will of the people is at
least suspect. In many instances, the question (and outcome) is
more often a reflection of the will of he—it was usually a
male—who set the question. This has been shown not only by
dictators such as Napoleon and Lenin6, but also by democratic
leaders such as President Theodore Roosevelt who, in his own
words, “simply made up my mind what they [the people] ought
to think, and then did my best to get them to think it.” (Ket-
cham, 1984: p. 176.)
Let us now consider some rather more serious instances. In
conflict resolution work, mediators invariably rely on questions
which are open. Sadly, in politics, the question is invariably
closed. Little surprise, then, that the majority vote has not only
failed to be the means by which a people can resolve a dispute;
in some troubled societies, it has actually proved to be the very
opposite: the provocation by which that dispute was exacer-
bated, by which people then resorted to violence: “all the wars
in the former Yugoslavia started with a [two-option] referen-
dum,” (Oslobodjenje7, 7.2.1999).
Now according to international law8, “All peoples have the
right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely
determine their political status…” Furthermore, it was a team of
constitutional lawyers—the EU’S Badinter Commission—which
advocated the referendum for the Balkans9. Alas, many political
leaders assumed the law and the Commission’s findings meant
that they could choose not only the electorate but also the ques-
tion to be posed. In other words, this report was a provocation:
conflict zones are invariably replete with borders both geo-
graphical and historical, the latter both religious and/or tribal/
ethnic. Needless to say, the politician in power always chooses
a border such that he then has majority support; next, perhaps,
is some “ethnic cleansing”; and then he holds his (often divisive
and sectarian) plebiscite.
In all, therefore, international law in this regard is hopelessly
inadequate. It does not define the word “people”; nor does it
specify the voting procedure by which that people shall then
vote. Yet by restricting the choice to only two options, political
leaders in the Balkans in effect disenfranchised those who were
the children of or partners in a mixed marriage, not to mention
those who regarded themselves as Yugoslavs, not to mention
again those who desperately wanted some form of compromise.
So that vote was not a means by which voters could “freely
determine” anything! Furthermore, if Croatia could opt out of
Yugoslavia, why not the Krajina out of Croatia? If Georgia
could opt out of the USSR, why not Abhazia and South Ossetia
out of Georgia? Are countries similar to those famous Russian
matryushki, the dolls inside each of which is yet another
smaller one? It is all so similar to an older but still contempo-
rary dispute: when Ireland opted out of the UK, “Ulster” opted
out of Ireland.
Sadly, the lessons from these and other conflicts have still
not been learnt, and self-determination by majority vote—bal-
kanisation—has now been used in Sudan. The consequences in
other parts of Sudan, as in Abyei, Blue Nile and Kurdufan, or in
Africa as a whole, in multi-religious and/or tribal societies as in
Nigeria and DRC, may yet prove to be horrific.
An Historical Perspective
The two-option majority vote is the most inaccurate measure
of collective opinion ever invented. In fact it is worse than that,
for a binary vote cannot measure the degree of consent, not
least because it measures the very opposite: the degree of dis-
sent—so many “for” and so many “against”.
Currently, many people believe that “Democracy is based on
majority decision,”10 and that, therefore, “Democracy works on
the basis of a decision by the majority.” (Government of Ireland,
1996: p. 398.) From statements like these which abound, not
just politicians and punters but so too professors of political
science often come to two conclusions: firstly, as was men-
tioned in the introduction, that an elected parliament shall di-
vide into two opposing “halves”, the bigger one to govern and
the smaller to form the opposition11; and secondly, that deci-
sions in parliament shall be subject to a majority vote (which
usually means that the bigger “half” wins, regardless of the
debate, because of the party whips).
If, instead, decisions were taken by means of a non-majori-
tarian voting methodology, the basis of majority rule would be
invalidated. At the moment, nearly every country aims to prac-
tice a form of majority rule. Electoral systems vary enormously,
from the simplistic (and almost Orwellian) first-past-the-post
(FPP) of many Anglo-Saxon democracies, to the more sophis-
ticated proportional systems, some of which are two-tier {like
5It was controversial because of the way, and by whom, the new constitution
was drafted; there was little or no controversy over the majority vote meth-
6Only two dictators have lost a referendum: Augusto Pinochet lost his third
in 1988, by 57 per cent; and Robert Mugabe lost one in 2000 by 55 per cent,
but his poll was non-binding.
7Sarajevo’s now legendary newspaper. The statement refers to the three wars
in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia but, in a way which was not dissimilar, the
later war in Kosova was also prompted by (the prospect of) a referendum.
(Emerson, 2000: pp. 49-50.)
8Article 1.1, The International Covenant on Civil Rights; it was adopted by
the UN in 1996.
9Admittedly, Badinter added a proviso, suggesting the result of a Bosnian
referendum would be valid “only if respectable numbers from all three
communities of the republic approved,” (Woodward, 1995: p. 280).It did
not, however, define the word “respectable”. The Bosnian Serbs boycotted
the poll, the barricades went up on the day of the vote, and then it was war.
10International unesco Education Server for Civic, Peace and Human Rights
rinzip.htm (accessed 15.1.2013).
11In May 2010, when no party won a majority in the UK general election,
the choice of majority coalition was fairly limited; (see note 4). A contrast
lies in India, where the 2009 elections resulted in a parliament of 44 differ-
ent parties, some already in coalitions, some not; in such a situation, forming
a government becomes a matter of horse-trading if not a lottery. Further-
more, the process of government formation is often very protracted: in 2010,
Iraq took 249 days to form a majority government—a world record subse-
quently broken by Belgium, which took 541 days!
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
the German multi-member proportional (MMP)12 to the Irish
proportional representation—single transferable vote (PR-STV)}13.
Decision-making, however, is nearly always a (simple, weight-
ed, qualified or consociational) majority vote, a closed question,
Democracy, however, should be the means by which all
concerned may influence that which thus becomes the conflu-
ence. Democracy was not conceived as a means by which one
“half” could dominate the rest, at least until (and maybe beyond)
the next election. Admittedly, the early Greeks used majority
voting, but there was “nothing resembling a “party system” in
sixth/fifth century Athens or any other Greek state…” (Ste
Croix, 2005: p. 198) so those (male citizens) in the forum could
vote as they wished, today with a colleague, tomorrow against,
without forming permanently exclusive blocs.
Political parties came later. They emerged in England as a
direct consequence of members of parliament, (MPS), using the
two-option majority vote, even though by this time, the binary
methodology had come under scrutiny by such as Ramon Llull
in 12th Century Spain and, 300 years later, Nicholas Cusanus in
what is now Germany14. Initially, then, MPS took sides; next,
they started to abuse each other; and finally, these terms of
abuse were adopted—by the abused!—as their party labels15. In
the United States, in contrast, there was initially considerable
opposition to the party system of politics: George Washington
for one argued that it had “perpetuated the most horrid enormi-
ties [and was] itself a frightful despotism”16 but, while the
founding fathers made a brave attempt at introducing a more
consensual electoral system17, they did not question the use of
the majority vote in decision-making. So the two-party struc-
ture of US politics was all but inevitable.
Given the dominance of western thought in today’s world,
many believe that democracy must be party based, and some,
most notably in the UK and US, still believe in the ever more
dysfunctional two-party system. Not only that; they also decry
any system which is not party-based. In Uganda, President
Museveni managed to end a civil war, partially by banning
political parties because, said he, they were nearly all sectarian
and tribal; the West, however, disapproved. When Mikhail
Gorbachev came to power in the USSR—and he does not speak
English—the West rushed to advise him of the benefits of our
two-party system of majority rule, without realising that the
Russian word for “majoritarianism” is, or at least was, “bolshe-
vism18. Today, western wrath is often directed against China
but, as implied earlier, when a country is faced with huge prob-
lems of reform, it is not necessarily wise to adopt a parliamen-
tary system in which one “half” (under Gorbachev) is opposed
by another “half” under another Nobel-peace prize winner,
Andrei Sakharov; such was the scenario in the first post-pere-
stroika Congress of 1989, which in part explains the current
role of the not very democratic Vladimir Putin. Furthermore,
the adoption of any single-preference electoral system into
China, be it FPP or PR-list, would doubtless result in the emer-
gence of sectarian and secessionist parties, not least in Tibet
(Xīzàng) and Xīnjiāng.
Sadly, there is a widespread tendency in the West for politi-
cians to suggest that western norms should have universal ap-
plication. Not only do they consider ours to be correct, but ipso
facto, others are judged to be at fault: “the Confucian ethos [in]
many Asian societies stressed… the importance of consensus…
[in contrast] with the primacy in American beliefs of democ-
racy,” (Huntington, 1997: p. 225). A moron’s oxymoron.
An Inclusive Polity
If, instead, a more inclusive decision-making structure were
to be used, could perhaps to-day’s rigid party system become
unsustainable?19 Consider, then, a form of preference voting,
which may have been advocated by Llull—the science is un-
clear (McLean & Urken, 1995: pp. 16-19)—but was definitely
proposed by Cusanus (Sigmund, 1963: p. 212). Today’s name
of this voting procedure is a modified Borda count20, (MBC).
The MBC, a points system, is based on a multi-option ballot,
in which voters cast their preferences on (one, some or hope-
fully) all the options listed. First comes the debate, in which all
parties are able to propose options, make suggestions and/or
offer amendments. The debate is policed not only by a chair-
person or speaker, but also by a team of consensors21 which
draws up and then maintains a (short) list of all the options
currently “on the table”, computer screen and web-site. If the
participants manage to come to a verbal consensus—if, in other
words, the number of options under debate is eventually re-
duced by unanimous agreement to just one—then the chair may
deem this to be the final decision. If, however—and this is the
more likely scenario—there is no such verbal consensus, then
the chair may decide to proceed to a vote. First, he/she will ask
the participants if all of them agree that their own proposed
policy option is included in the final (short) list of options, if
not verbatim then at least in composite. If such is the case, then
all concerned may proceed to the vote and, in most instances,
between four and six options is regarded as optimum.
Let us assume there are five options on the ballot: A, B, C, D
and E, and that the voters are asked to rank them all in order of
preference. Well, if a voter abstains, he has no influence on the
outcome. If another casts just one preference, her 1st preference
gets 1 point. If another casts two preferences, his favourite gets
2 points (and his 2nd preference gets 1 point). And so on; that
is, voters who participate partially have a partial influence on
the outcome. So if yet another voter casts all five preferences,
then her 1st preference gets 5 points, her 2nd gets 4, and so on.
And those who participate fully have a full influence. In effect,
19There will probably always be parties, or groups and organisations of one
sort or another. I only wish to question party political patronage, i.e., those
party structures which give far too much power to the party leaders.
12MMP consists of two ballots: one is for an FPP election in single seat
constituencies; the second is for a PR-list election in multi-seat constituen-
13Interestingly enough, both MMP and PR-STV were imposed upon the
Germans and the Irish respectively by the British, but the British themselves
were left with FPP. (STV, by the way, is the same as AV and IRV.)
14The first person to suggest something was wrong was Pliny the Younger in
AD 105.
15The word “whig” was slang for a money-grabbing Scots Presbyterian, while
a “tory” was an Irish papist bandit. (Churchill, 1974: Book II, p. 294.)
16Farewell address, 1796.
17In the first US presidential elections, the winner became the President, and
the runner-up became the Vice-President.
18The author is fluent in Russian, and lived in Moscow in the late 1980s.
20Unaware of the work of Nicholas Cusanus, Jean-Charles de Borda sug-
gested a points system, the Borda count, (BC), in 1784. In a five-option
ballot, he argued, the voter’s last preference should get 1 point; his penulti-
mate should get 2 points, and so on. This was inter
reted to mean that in an
n-option ballot, a 1st preference gets n points, a 2nd preference gets n 1,
and so on; then, on the basis that (n, n 1 1) gives exactly the same
rankings as (n 1, n 2 0), this was subsequently changed to mean that
a 1st preference gets n 1, a 2nd gets n 2 etc.. The latter rule, however,
cannot cater for partial voting: hence the MBC (Emerson, 2013: pp. 353-
358); see also (Saari, 2008: p. 197).
21The team normally consists of three or more persons, at least one of whom
shall be from the le
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 79
then, the MBC encourages the voter to cast a full ballot. In so
doing, the voter acknowledges the validity of all the options
listed. Furthermore, in consensus voting, no-one votes against
any thing or, for that matter, any body.
Consider also the position of the protagonist. If I want my
option to win, I know that I will need lots of high preferences, a
few medium ones perhaps, but very few low ones. It will
therefore be worth my while, in debate, to talk with my erst-
while opponents, to suggest to them that my proposal is not as
bad as they had originally thought, and that they might consider
giving it a 3rd or even a 2nd preference rather than a 5th. That
would be a huge improvement in my level of support. The vot-
ing system itself, therefore, promotes dialogue or, to coin a
more appropriate term, a “polylogue”. The MBC can be a cata-
lyst of consensus.
If there are 100 voters casting full ballots, and if all 100 give
option A a 1st preference, A will get the maximum possible
score of (100 × 5 =) 500 points. If all 100 give option D, say, a
5th preference, then D gets a score of (100 × 1 =) 100 points. If
everyone gives option B a 3rd preference, then B will get a
score of (100 × 3 =) 300, the mean. And if 50 voters give op-
tion C a 2nd preference while the other 50 give it a 4th, then it
will get (50 × 4 + 50 × 2 =) 300 points again.
Now in any vote, one or more options will be above the
mean, and others below. If, in another five-option example,
option E gets a very high score (or consensus coefficient as it is
called)22, then it may be called the collective wisdom; if on the
other hand, the winning option gets rather less, then perhaps it
only reflects a consensus; or, if less still, just the best possible
compromise. Or if, in the last scenario, all five scores are
around the 300 mark, then there is obviously no consensus at
all, and the chair should resume the debate.
The MBC can best be used 1) if parliament discusses the
problem under debate in an open way; i.e., if the question is not
closed; and 2) if the executive acknowledges the sovereignty of
parliament i.e., abides by and implements the latter’s decisions.
If the MBC were to be used, terms like “majority” and “minor-
ity” would become obsolescent; “Words like ‘winning’ and
‘losing’ [could] be banished from the political vocabulary,”
(Lewis, 1965: pp. 66-67); and there would no longer be the
right of a majority to rule.
The correspondingly more inclusive polity would take shape
along the following lines. The people would elect the parlia-
ment, hopefully by an electoral system which was both prefer-
ential and proportional, and the best of these, I would suggest,
is the quota Borda system (QBS)23. Parliament would then use
another electoral system, the matrix vote24, by which every
member votes, in order of preference, not only for those whom
he/she wishes to be in government, but also for the particular
portfolio in which he/she wants each of these nominees to serve;
such a cabinet would be an all-party, proportional, power-
sharing government of national unity, (GNU)25. Finally, on all
contentious non-urgent matters, both parliament and, as and
when appropriate, the electorate, would base its decisions on
multi-option preference votes conducted by an MBC.
Human Rights Charters
According to Art 21 of the United Nations Declaration of
Human Rights:
1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his
country, directly or through freely elected representatives;
2) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of
government; this shall be expressed in periodic and genuine
elections which shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent
free voting procedures.
That’s it, and other charters are equally glib. There is nothing
about the right of majority rule—a right which I hope the reader
now agrees does not exist26. But there is also nothing on deci-
sion-making. If, however, the democratic process is to be one
of the principal means by which disputes are to be resolved, if
in plural societies and especially in conflict zones, votes in
parliaments and referendums are to be more than just sectarian
headcounts; then voting procedures on all contentious issues
should be preferential.
In the light of this essay, might I suggest democratic rights
should stipulate that:
1) The electorate may choose their political leaders, but the
corresponding electoral system shall be both preferential
and proportional; secondly, in the count, all valid cast pref-
erences shall be taken into account;
2) On all contentious matters, any decision-making voting
procedure, be it in parliament or in a regional/national ref-
erendum, shall be preferential; the will of the people (or that
of their representatives in parliament) shall be determined
in a manner which takes all preferences cast into account;
and decisions shall be enacted if they receive a minimum
consensus coefficient of…27
3) Just as parliament shall represent the whole country, so too
the government shall represent the entire parliament; par-
liament should best elect the government in a methodology
both preferential and proportional; and both bodies shall
aim to make their decisions in consensus, either verbally
and/or by means of a consensus vote.
22An option’s consensus coefficient is the total number of points received
divided by the maximum number of points it could have received. The
highest coefficient is therefore 1. In a five-option ballot, if everyone has cast
a full ballot, the lowest score will
e 0.2. If some people have cast partial
ballots, however, then the consensus coefficients will not be so high (Emer-
son, 2007: p. 17). A consensus coefficient is, therefore, a measure, not only
of that option’s popularity, but also of the degree to which the electorate has
articipated in voting on that option. It is, indeed, a measure of the collective
will. In any parliament’s standing orders, specific values of consensus coef-
ficient would be laid down for when a decision could thus be considered to
have been approved.
23Many jurisdictions have tried to devise inclusive electoral systems.As
mentioned in note 17, the first Americans tried a less adversarial form o
presidential election. Lebanon devised a multi-candidate form of FPP, such
that 1) the voters are obliged to vote on a cross-confessional basis; and 2)
every confessional belief is represented in fair proportion. Papua New
Guinea has tried to tackle the same problem in an alternative vote (AV)
system by requiring every voter to cast at least three preferences, i.e., every
voter has to cross the sectarian divide (Emerson, 2012: p. 131). But argua
the most inclusive electoral system yet devised is QBS.
The word “democracy” is possibly the most undefined word
in the world. The term has been used and/or abused by count-
24The matrix vote is based on a QBS.
25As noted earlier, many people think democracy is majority rule.When it
does not work, as in the Balkans and other conflict zones such as Afghani-
stan, Iraq, Kenya, Syria and Zimbabwe, to name just a few, those same
people then argue for its opposite, power-sharing. Countries in crisis also
resort to using a GNU, and many calls in recent times have been heard for
similar structures in Greece and Ireland, for example. The only country to
adopt a GNU form of government without a conflict or a crisis is Switzerland.
26Another right which was wrong was the almost ubiquitous divine right o
27Initially, a figure of 0.4 is recommended. As societies get used to this more
inclusive polity, a higher level of consensus may be aspired to.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 81
less leaders, often at considerable cost in terms of human suf-
fering. Accordingly, international agreements on democratic
rights must be much more specific.
Majority votes may be taken on matters which are non-con-
troversial. On all contentious subjects, however, those concern-
ed should aim to come to a consensus or at least the best possi-
ble compromise. This cannot best be done by majority vote, but
it is feasible with an MBC.
No majority has the right to rule; no minority has the right to
veto; rather, we all have a responsibility to come to an accom-
modation with each other. Accordingly, in parliamentary de-
mocracies, governance shall be based on all-party cabinets or
GNUS; in presidential systems, elections, as an absolute mini-
mum, shall always serve to appoint two persons, and ideally at
least four. All-party, proportional, power-sharing coalition ca-
binets shall become the norm.
The ideal for any society is the rule of law under a system of
separation of powers28. The politicians choose the law; the
lawyers enforce it. The lawyers in turn stipulate the bases, the
fundamental human rights, by which the said politicians shall
govern. In a court of law, lawyers may need to take some deci-
sions on the basis of a majority vote. When drawing up interna-
tional charters, however, when drafting constitutions or when
supervising public enquiries, both the lawyers and the politi-
cians should use multi-option preferential procedures on all
matters deemed to be controversial and non-urgent.
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Abbreviations MP: Member of Parliament
PR: Proportional Representation
AV (=IRV = STV): Alternative Vote PR-STV: Proportional Representation-Single Transferable Vote
BC: Borda Count QBS: Quota Borda System
DRC: Democratic Republic of the Congo STV (=AV = IRV): Single Transferable Vote
EU: European Union UK: United Kingdom
FPP: First-Past-the-Post UN: United Nations
GNU: Government of National Unity US: United States
IRV (=AV = STV): Instant Run-off Voting USSR: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
MBC: Modified Borda Count
MMP: Multi-Member Proportional
28There are of course three: The legislature, the executive and the judiciary.
In the US over the years, the executive has acquired more and more legisla-
tive powers, not least by means of using majority voting.