Polkassembly
Search
⌃K
🕵♂

Council

To represent passive stakeholders, Polkadot introduces the idea of a "council". The council is an on-chain entity comprising several actors, each represented as an on-chain account. On Polkadot, the council currently consists of 13 members.
Along with controlling the treasury, the council is called upon primarily for three tasks of governance: proposing sensible referenda, cancelling uncontroversially dangerous or malicious referenda, and electing the technical committee.
For a referendum to be proposed by the council, a strict majority of members must be in favor, with no member exercising a veto. Vetoes may be exercised only once by a member for any single proposal; if, after a cool-down period, the proposal is resubmitted, they may not veto it a second time.
Council motions which pass with a 3/5 (60%) super-majority - but without reaching unanimous support - will move to a public referendum under a neutral, majority-carries voting scheme. In the case that all members of the council vote in favor of a motion, the vote is considered unanimous and becomes a referendum with negative adaptive quorum biasing.
EXPLAINER VIDEO ON THE COUNCIL
For more information, check out our video explainer on Counci​
​

How to be a council member?​​

approval-vote
All stakeholders are free to signal their approval of any of the registered candidates.
Council elections are handled by the same Phragmén election process that selects validators from the available pool based on nominations. However, token holders' votes for councillors are isolated from any of the nominations they may have on validators. Council terms last for one week.
At the end of each term, Phragmén election algorithm runs and the result will choose the new councillors based on the vote configurations of all voters. The election also chooses a set number of runners up which is currently (20 that will remain in the queue with their votes intact.
As opposed to a "first-past-the-post" electoral system, where voters can only vote for a single candidate from a list, a Phragmén election is a more expressive way to include each voters' views. Token holders can treat it as a way to support as many candidates as they want. The election algorithm will find a fair subset of the candidates that most closely matches the expressed indications of the electorate as a whole.
Let's take a look at the example below.
Round 1
Text
Text
Text
Text
Text
Token Holders
​
Candidates
​
​
​
​
A
B
C
D
E
Peter
X
​
X
X
X
Alice
​
X
​
​
​
Bob
​
​
X
X
X
Kelvin
X
​
X
​
​
Total
2
1
3
2
2
The above example shows that candidate C wins the election in round 1, while candidates A, B, D & E keep remaining on the candidates' list for the next round.
Round 2
Text
Text
Text
Text
Token Holders
​
Candidates
​
​
​
A
B
D
E
Peter
X
X
​
​
Alice
X
X
​
​
Bob
X
X
X
X
Kelvin
X
X
​
​
Total
4
4
1
1
For the top-N (say 4 in this example) runners-up, they can remain and their votes persist until the next election. After round 2, even though candidates A & B get the same number of votes in this round, candidate A gets elected because after adding the older unused approvals, it is higher than B.

Prime Members​​

The council, being an instantiation of Substrate's Collective pallet, implements what's called a prime member whose vote acts as the default for other members that fail to vote before the timeout.
The prime member is chosen based on a Borda count.
The purpose of having a prime member of the council is to ensure a quorum, even when several members abstain from a vote. Council members might be tempted to vote a "soft rejection" or a "soft approval" by not voting and letting the others vote. With the existence of a prime member, it forces councillors to be explicit in their votes or have their vote counted for whatever is voted on by the prime.