About us


A blog: " De Borda abroad."  From Belfast to Beijing and beyond... and back. Starting in Vienna with the TEDx talk, I go by bus and/or train for more debates in Belgrade, Sarajevo, Istanbul, Tbilisi, Yerevan and Tehran, before flying - sorry about that - to Urumqi in Xīnjiāng, followed by more debates in Beijing, Tianjin, Hong Kong and Taiwan... but not in Pyongyang. Then back via Mongolia (where I was an election observer last year) and Moscow (where I worked in the '80s).

I have my little fold-up Brompton with me - surely the best way of exploring any new city! So I fly hardly at all; I go by train, boat or bus if possible, and then cycle wherever in each new venue; and all with just one plastic water bottle... or that was the intention!

The story is on:  https://debordaabroad.wordpress.com/2017/09/07/de-borda-abroad/


Inclusive voting app 



(Currently under re-construction.)


The Hospital for Incurable Protestants

The Mémoire of a Collapsed Catholic

 This is the story of a pacifist in a conflict zone, in Northern Ireland and the Balkans.  Only in e-format, but only £5.15.  Available from Amazon.



About us

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The de Borda Institute aims to promote the use of inclusive voting procedures on all contentious questions of social choice.

This applies specifically to decision-making, be it for the electorate in regional/national polls, for their elected representatives in councils and parliaments, for members of a local community group, for members of a company board, for members of a co-operative, and so on.




The director alongside the statue of Jean-Charles de Borda, capitaine et savant, in l’École Navale in Brest, 24.9.2010. Photo by Gwenaelle Bichelot. 

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Welcome to the home page of the de Borda Institute, a Northern Ireland-based international organisation (an NGO) which aims to promote the use of inclusive voting procedures on all contentious questions of social choice. For more information use the menu options above or feel free to contact the organisation's headquarters. If you want to check the meaning of any of the terms used, then by all means have a look at this glossary.

As shown in these attachments, there are many voting procedures for use in decision-making and even more electoral systems.  This is because, in decision-making, there is usually only one outcome; but with some electoral systems, as in any proportional ones, there can be several winners.  Sometimes, for any one voters' profile - that is, the set of all their preferences - the outcome of any count may well depend on the voting procedure used.  In this very simple example of a few voters voting on just four options, and in these two hypothetical examples on five, (word document) or (power-point) in which a few cast their preferences on five options, the profiles are analysed according to different methodologies, and the winner could be any one of all the options.  Yet all of these methodologies are called democratic!  Extraordinary!


Deborda has published a number of books. Several of them are available directly from the Institute. We list those which are currently available below.

Current publications from Springer

1   From Majority Rule to Inclusive Politics: Electing a Power-Sharing Coalition, (2016), with a foreword by Professor Iain McLean.  Majority rule is fine, in so far as it goes.  But majority rule by majority vote is not so good.  If there is a better way of identifying the will of the majority, or even the collective will, and if that way is not majoritarian, then there is little or no justification for (single party or coalition) majority rule.  So parliaments should represent all the people, and every government should represent the entire parliament, as in Switzerland: a proportional, all-party, coalition Federal Council or Government of National Unity.

2 Defining Democracy, Voting Procedures in Decision-Making, Elections and Governance, (2012), with a foreword by Professor Arend Lijphart.  It was launched in the House of Lords on 31.1.2012 by Lord (Paddy) Ashdown: "An extraordinary and quite remarkable cornucopia index of available [voting] systems.” [More]

In addition, a copy of the book was presented to Michael D Higgins, the President of Ireland, at his official residence, Áras an Uachtaráin, on 10.2.2012.

3   Designing an All-Inclusive Democracy - Consensual Voting Procedures for Use in Parliaments, Councils and Committees, (2007), (136k pdf More...) with a foreword from Professor Sir Michael Dummett, and contributions from Professors Christine Bell, Elizabeth Meehan, Hannu Nurmi and Maurice Salles, amongst others.

ISBN 3-540-33163-8, hardback, approx 250pp
e-mail orders to SDC-bookorder@springer.com

The book, which received the following review in Fortnight magazine from Andy Pollak is on-line.

Current publications from Ashgate

1   The Ashgate Research Companion to War

Hall Gardner and Oleg Kobtzeff (Eds), Ashgate, 2012.  My own chapter is entitled Majority Rule - A Cause of War? 

2   Reconstructing Multiethnic Societies: The Case of Bosnia_Herzegovina

Džemal Sokolović and Florian Bieber (Eds), 2001.  My contribution is called How a Quota borda System of elections may Facilitate Reconciliation

Current publications from Routledge

Party Politics in the Western Balkans, ed by Vera Stojarová and Peter Emerson, Routeledge, was published on 1.10.2009.

Current publications from others

Consensual Decision-Making.  From St Columb's Park House.


Current books from the de Borda Institute

Defining Democracy, Decisions, Elections and Good Governance, 2002, 

From Belfast to the Balkans, Was Democracy Part of the Problem? 2000, 

Beyond the Tyranny of the Majority, 1998.

And three samizdats

The Politics of Consensus, 1994, 

Consensus Voting Systems, 1991.

That Sons May Bury Their Fathers, 1978.

Current papers from the de Borda Institute

Dublin City Council's Rosie Hackett Bridge: A landmark in Decision-Making, 2014. By Prof. John Baker.

Current publications in political journals

A The Rights (and Wrongs) of Majority Rule and Self-determination.  In China.  Beijing Law Review,

Vol 10, 4.


 B Beyond Majority Rule: Electoral Systems for Inclusive Politics. In Belgium. GEF 2017.


C The Will of the People: A Critique of (Simple or Weighted) Majority Voting.  In China.  In OJPS, 2017, Vol. 7, 311-325.


D Deliberative Democracy: A Binding Methodology? In England. Journal of Dialogue Studies, Vol 4 No 1.


E Let the Dáil Elect the Government.  In Ireland.  The Irish Journal of Social, Economic and Environmental Sustainability, IJSEES, 2017, Vol 1,  1.

F    The Scottish Referendum.  In Scotland.  Scottish Affairs, 2016, Vol 25 № 2, http://www.euppublishing.com/doi/abs/10.3366/scot.2016.0127

G    International Peace-Making—Creating Post-Conflict Structures of Government.  In China.  OJPS: 2016, Vol.6 № 2. 

H   David Cameron and the Three 'Whiches'.  In Belgium.  In https://www.greeneuropeanjournal.eu/david-cameron-and-the-three-whiches/

I   Majority Rule - A Dysfunctional Polity. Consensus: An Inclusive Democracy. In the USA. International Dialogue, 2015, Vol. 5:  http://www.unomaha.edu/idj/volume5index.html 

J A Democratic China?  In China.  OJPS, 2014, Vol. 4,  3, 118-129. http://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=48302#.U9pN_MZtc1g

K    Majority, Grand or All-Party Coalitions?  In Poland.  ILSHS, 2014, Vol. 12, 90-109.    http://www.ilshs.pl/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/ILSHS-12-2014-90-109.pdf

L Good Governance. In Poland.  ILSHS, 2014, Vol. 10,  2, 132-55.    http://www.ilshs.pl/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/ILSHS-102-2014-132-155.pdf  

M Debates and Decisons.  In England.  Journal of Dialogue Studies. Vol 1,  1, 81-94.  http://www.dialoguesociety.org/publications/academia/829-journal-of-dialogue-studies.html

N    "Peace-ful" Voting ProceduresIn Germany.  Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy, Vol. 19,  2, 249-274.  See: http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/peps.ahead-of-print/peps-2013-0010/peps-2013-0010.xml?format=INT

O     Democratic Rights: Decision-Making by Law Makers and Law Enforcers.  In China.  Beijing Law Review BLR Vol. 4 № 2, 2013: on http://www.scirp.org/journal/blr

P      Electing an All-Party, Proportional, Power-Sharing Coalition, a Government of National Unity.  In China.  The Open Journal of Political Science, OJPS, Vol. 3,  2, 2013, pp 59-68.  And on-line   http://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=30530

Q     The original Borda count and partial voting.  In Germany.  Social Choice and Welfare, Vol. 40,  2 (2013), 353-358, and on-line at  http://www.springerlink.com/content/k476366236x10402/

R      The Matrix Vote: Electing an All-Party Coalition Cabinet.  In England.  Voting Matters,  29 http://www.votingmatters.org.uk/ISSUE29/INDEX.HTM

S      The Next Scottish Referendum.  In Scotland.  Scottish Affairs, № 73, autumn 2010. 

T       Proportionality without transference: the merits of the Quota Borda System, QBS.  In England.  Representation, Vol. 46,  2, in July 2010.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00344893.2010.485820

     Consensus voting and party funding: a web based experiment.  In England.  EPS (European Political Science) Vol 9  1, 83-101.  http://www.palgrave-journals.com/eps/journal/v9/n1/full/eps200940a.html

V      Reforming the House of Lords: Choosing from the Options.  In England.  Representation, Vol. 41,  4, in 2005.  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00344890508523322

W Democracy - The Most Undefined Word in the World.  In Ukraine.  Magisterium (Politichni Studii) No 10, 2002: 

X Консенсус (Consensus).  (Co- authored with Irina Bazileva.)  In USSR.  Новый Мир (New World). 1990, № 3.

Current conference (and other) reports from the de Borda Institute

Majoritarianism or Democracy? 1999

Preferendum Social Survey, 1998

Avoiding the Veto, 1998

Where Lies the Compromise? 1995

{The following refer to cross-community conferences which took place before the cease-fire.}

Power-Sharing, 1993

The Other Talks, 1991

People's Conventions, 1986 (no longer in print; copies available in the Linenhall Library, Belfast)

Feature articles in national newspapers      

The Guardian, London. 4.3.2009. The warped majority.  .

The Irish Times,  Dublin.   22.4.2016  The forgotten option: all-party government.

22.12.2000. Voters should have a number of options on abortion.  

      2.5.2000.  Time for multi-option voting system.  

Debati, Sofia.   1990, № 17/90.  Not only by a majority.  

Moscow News, Moscow.   1989, № 6/89.  (co- authored with Irina Bazileva) Democracy without an Opposition.   

Other Publications

Northern Ireland

A Political Cycle, 2000

Having first visited the Soviet Union in 1984, under Chernenko; having lived in Moscow in 1986 and from 1988 to 1990; having been published in Moscow News and Novy Mir (New World), in the latter alongside Alexandr Solzhenitsyn; and having travelled extensively in European Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Balkans, there was a story to tell.

Bosnian Perspective, 1993
This describes the author’s experiences when he travelled across Bosnia, twice, in winter and in war, on a bicycle... if but to say on his return to Northern Ireland that majoritarianism doesn’t work in the Balkans either.

Published abroad

Germany (in German)

‘Mediation fur die Praxis’, 1998

‘Konsens’, 1999

‘Frieden auf Raten’

Russia (in Russian)
‘Pravo I Vlast’, (The Power and the Law), (co- authored with Irina Bazileva), Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1990