Upper Left Quadrant Details Upper Right Quadrant Details Lower Left Quadrant Details Lower Right Quadrant Details Details



Majority is a decision rule. In a democratic, or democratizing regime, it is the dominant aspect of every policy decision. Majorities can be strong or weak, stable or unstable, organic or procedural. Moreover, majorities can be absolute or relative (plurality). The type of majority depends upon the criteria and rules chosen for selecting a majority.
The vertical axis arises out of the contrast between a focus directly on rules that facilitate decisions and reduce the cost of decision-making versus a prevalent concern for taking all views - represented interests - into account. The horizontal axis rests upon the distinction between two majoritarian environments, one real and highly procedural, the other virtual or organic. This is perhaps one of the main changes in the so-called post-electoral democracies, with majorities often being formed outside their original institutional environment as a result of volatile pressures largely determined by and through the media.
The URQ is the classic Westminster model of majoritarian government, where electoral rules and party-systems tend to produce highly cohesive parliamentary majorities, thus strengthening the role of the executive both as a political authority and as a channel for bureaucratic implementation. While this remains a strongly admired and largely pursued model for majority-building, its successful application remains limited to a small number of countries. More often, the only way of forming parliamentary majorities is through weaker and unstable majorities (LRQ), made up by the temporary aggregation of a more or less vast array of minority interests. Parties are the main agent of coalition-building. The LLQ is concerned with the engineering of consensus through media, which set the agenda of public opinion demands and influence its choices. Media activism serves the need of elites for mass support through the creation of virtual majorities. The ULQ refers to the trend toward plebiscitarian democracies, where majorities coalesce around presidential leadership through a referendum type of election - whether by a formal ballot or through “permanent campaign” with popularity polling.