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What is “Absolute Majority”?

The Politicus
Mar 27, 2014 01:41 AM 0 Answers
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What is an absolute majority? Two definitions seems to contradict each other.

  • The first is that an absolute majority is a majority of all the possible votes, including votes of electors not present or declining to vote.
  • The second is that an absolute majority is a majority of the votes cast, in contrast with a plurality (= more vote that any opponent)

For instance, imagine an organization that specifies that decisions are to be taken by absolute majority. There are 20 members in the organization, and 10 meet for a general meeting. They vote for a motion 6 to 4.
Under the first definition, the motion is rejected (6 out of 11 votes needed). Under the second, it passes (6 out of 6 votes needed).

The first definition is supported by this Wikipedia article and its third source, but its second source is more ambiguous. Wiktionary and the Free Dictionary list both possibilities under the same entry. Additionally, in other languages (french at least), the definition clearly matches the second case, hinting at possible regional differences.

Is there an authoritative definition of the term, or is it different from country to coutry or institutions to institutions?

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