2006 Presidential Elections
in Haiti, Finland, and Chile
2006 opened with a series of runoffs across the globe, pointing to the prevalence of majority voting internationally.

Chile elected its first female president on January 15th after Michelle Bachelet triumphed over Sebatian Pinera with 53% of the vote in a second round of counting. A runoff was necessary after the vote splintered four ways, denying any candidate an absolute majority.

In Finland, the vote fragmented across three major lines during the first election on January 30th, with the left-leaning Tarja Halonen taking 46% of the vote, conservative Sauli Niinisto coming in second with 24%, and centrist Matti Vanhanen with 18%.

Finnish democracy is known for its strong pressure for consensus. Chile, by contrast, had all the trappings of a divided country during its election. Both concerns were served by a voting system that produced majority winners.

On a more dramatic note, protesters took to the streets of Port au-Prince, Haiti after the February 7th elections, when frontrunner Rene Preval appeared to fall just short of the majority threshold. Later recounts narrowly avoided a runoff.

The principle that the majority should rule is widespread and well established internationally, accomplished by proportional voting in legislative elections and majority voting in presidential elections.