Majority Rule, Legitimacy and Political Equality
EUI Law Working Paper No. 2005/21
34 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2006
Date Written: November 2006
This paper claims that the intuitive and widespread legitimating power of majority rule (MR) arises from the link between majority rule and the principle of equality of political opportunity. The egalitarian character of MR is established by exploring puzzles in democratic theory, such as the insensitivity of democratic voting procedures to unequal intensity of citizens' preferences, the inalienability of voting rights, and the relationship between the principle of unanimity (sometimes thought better to respect citizens' equality) and MR. Special attention is directed to the relationship between political equality, and equality in the outcomes of political decisions: the claim is made that the language of equal political opportunity captures well the idea of equal political influence, in the circumstance of disagreement about what is required to achieve equal treatment through the outcomes of political decisions.
Keywords: equality, political equality, equality of opportunity, voting, democratic theory, political legitimacy
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