I don't know enough about the many election systems throughout the world, but what I often see is that the abstention rate is at best an indicator (of something), if it's taken into account at all.
I know sometimes decisions made by parliament (and perhaps other legislative bodies) are subject to a minimal participation (i.e., abstention) rate to be considered valid and it is my I understanding that it is to keep the vote representative (i.e., enough of "the people" are represented to consider the decision fair and binding).
Therefore, wouldn't it be normal that the same principle applies to a public vote?
My question is: Have any countries implemented rules to invalidate a major election in the case of too little participation (a high abstention rate)?
Edit: Now that I have two answers, I realize how badly I asked my question, because I will have a hard time choosing which answer to accept if several are perfectly valid... Not sure how I could fix that.