Posted by / Wednesday 8 March 2017 / No comments

The disadvantages of an absolute majority system

An absolute majority is a system that requires that, in an election, a candidate must obtain more that 50% of the valid votes cast before he or she can be declared the winner of that election.

Voter apathy
The system of absolute majority can lead to voter apathy. This may happen when there is no absolute majority win in the first round of voting. In other words, the winner did not obtain more than 50% of the total valid votes cast and therefore the two front-liners have to go for a second round of voting. The supporters of the losing candidates may refuse to vote in the second round because their preferred candidate is not contesting.

Delayed results
Another disadvantage of the absolute majority is that it may unnecessarily delay the declaration of the final results. This is the case where the election has to be conducted again because there was no absolute majority winner in the first round. The second ballot must happen before the final winner is announced. This is what results in so much delay in the declaration of the results.

Weaken smaller parties
The absolute majority has been criticized as constituting a threat to the existence and survival of the smaller parties. This is so because these smaller parties are always not able to obtain the needed majority (50 %+) to win any election and therefore have to be at the losing end during every election.

It is expensive
The absolute majority is very expensive. The process leading to an election and the conduct of an election is a very expensive venture. To be compelled to conduct an election again because there was no absolute majority makes it even more expensive. This is more especially so in Africa where most countries are relatively poorer.

Promotes electoral fraud
Another disadvantage of absolute majority is the fact that it promotes electoral fraud. The parties concerned are so bent on winning the election that they tend to involve themselves in all kinds of electoral vices to win.

May lead to violence
Absolute majority can result in electoral violence. The desire, on the part of, especially the major parties, to win at all cost creates so much tension in the country. Such tension, when not properly handled can result in political violence of dangerous proportions.

1. a. What is an absolute majority? (2 marks)
    b. Identify any five disadvantages of absolute majority. (10 marks) 

2. Highlight six disadvantages of the system of absolute majority.

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