To Majority through the Search for Unanimity


  • Financial support from the Secretaría de Estado de Investigación of the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (research project SEJ2007-67580-C02-01) is gratefully acknowledged. Many, many thanks to the reviewers of this paper and to the Associate Editor for pointing out embarrassing mistakes and making extremely useful suggestions.


The relative majority rule is characterized, when there are only two alternatives, in terms of axioms of unanimity, reducibility, ontoness (which expresses citizen sovereignty), and no veto power (a weakening of almost unanimity). The strongest axiom is reducibility, which embodies the preference aggregation procedure that successively synthesizes two divergent preferences until divergence disappears and, therefore, unanimity can be applied.