Presidency: What majority rule does popular primaries use?

Organizers of the popular primaries on Saturday announced the candidates who will vote from January 27-30. For this occasion, voters will have to familiarize themselves with a particular voting method: majority rule.

After several weeks of procrastination, the list of candidates for the popular primaries, which will be held from January 27-30, 2022, was submitted on Saturday, January 15 by the organizers. They are seven in total: there are those who enthusiastically present themselves – Anna Aguib Porterei, Charlotte Marchandes, Christian Tobira and Philippe Larrotoru – and those who have found themselves set off in spite of themselves – Ann Hidalgo, Yannick Gadot and Jean-Luc Melenchon, all three have declared they will be candidates For the presidential elections, whatever happens.

Like it or not, everyone will be subject to a vote of voters registered on the platform – currently over 110,000 people. The latter will determine the leftist candidate most legitimate in their view to run for the presidential elections (April 10 and 24) using an innovative voting method: majority rule.

Imagined in the early 2000s by researchers from the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Michel Palinsky and Reza Laraki, “majority rule” intended to address the harmful effects of the current presidential voting system.

Chloe Riedel regrets to France 24, co-founder of Mieux Voter that has campaigned since 2018 for majority rule. “Voters vote by default, vote against, or vote advantageous. They cannot say their opinion of other candidates. Result: abstentions and empty votes are constantly increasing and the winner is elected without the support of the majority of the population,” she continues.

“Talk to as many people as possible”

Majority rule proponents like to cite the example of the 2002 presidential election, which was marked by Jean-Marie Le Pen’s accession to the second round and the disqualification of Lionel Jospin in the first round, particularly due to the proliferation of candidates in the presidential election. the left. But with the rule of the majority, in their opinion, the Socialist candidate would have won.

Reason ? With such a system, voters are invited to express their opinion on all the candidates by giving them a signal. A method that makes it possible to evaluate and judge several orders with a slight difference, without canceling each other out.

“All candidates are evaluated independently of the others, and in the end, the best-rated election wins,” explains Chloe Riddell. This way, there is no longer any useful voting, and there is no longer any reason to have the empty vote, where you can, if you wish, reject everyone. Finally, majority rule obliges candidates to address the largest number when the current voting system encourages polarization of political debate and only requires you to speak to 20% of the electorate to get to the second round. »

Divisive candidates are out of the game

In the framework of the popular primary, five signals will be proposed: very good – good – moderately good – acceptable – insufficient. After the vote, the majority support for each candidate is calculated: this is the support that divides the electorate into two equal parts, called the “medium support” – and the one with better support wins the election.

One consequence of this voting method is that it almost automatically eliminates the most divided candidates. A December poll tested two methods of voting for respondents: Eric Zemmour finds himself in last place with a majority rule, while receiving 12% of voting intentions according to the current voting method. On the contrary, Arnaud Montebourg, who had 1% of the intent to vote, returned to third place thanks to majority rule, behind Valérie Pécresse, the winning data, and Emmanuel Macron.

In the event of a tie, that is, if two candidates receive the same rating, the majority rule favors the largest group of voters among those who believe that the candidate deserves more or less mention of the majority. Thus, to decide between Valérie Pécres and Emmanuel Macron, who both get the “acceptable” signal in the example below, the mass of voters judging the LR candidate positive (46% of voters) is the one who gets a gain because it matters more. Of the other three blocs (a 37% bloc judges it negatively, a 43% bloc judges Emmanuel Macron positively and 43% judges him negatively).

“Majority rule can make abstainers want to come back and express their opinions at the polls,” says Chloe Riddell of the Mieux Voter Association. Moreover, we were tested in the National Assembly by the information task of abstention and this suggests in its conclusions the experience of majority rule for the consultations conducted at the local level. »

Meanwhile, majority rule is slowly being simulated. Thus it was first tested in France in 2016 by LaPrimaire.org, an initiative aimed at appointing a citizen candidate for the 2017 presidential election. More than 33,000 voters participated in the vote. La République en Marche also used this method in 2019 to designate its local representatives. The City of Paris signed up for it in 2021 to choose among its participatory budget projects, and 106,000 people took part in the vote. And with the test of the normal size of the popular primary, a new light will benefit majority rule.

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