Two democratic phenomena – the local elections and inter-party talks – couldn’t be more different.
In the local elections those who vote determine the result, while those who abstain play no part at all.
In the inter-party talks, those who abstain control and veto everything, while those who would want to participate are disallowed.
To solve the stalemate at Stormont, let the MLAs
(s)elect the Executive, and if some members prefer to abstain, never mind; just let those who do want to work get on with it.
Peter Emerson, De Borda Institute (which describes itself as ‘promiting use of inclusive voting procedures on all contentious questions of social choice’), Belfast BT14