Scientific article

Do multicultural democracies really require pr? counterevidence from switzerland

ContributorsStojanovic, Nenadorcid
Published inSchweizerische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft, vol. 12, no. 4, p. 131-157
Publication date2006

Central to consociational (or power-sharing) theory is the claim that multicultural societies require electoral systems based on proportional representation (PR) in order to ensure a fair representation of the various cultural groups in parliament. In this context, Switzerland is often cited as a “PR country”, as well as the key example of successful consociationalism. This article argues that, in this respect, the Swiss experience does not support consociational theory as far as the representation of linguistic groups is concerned. The counterevidence is found by exploring the variety of Swiss electoral systems, both at the national level and in the four multilingual cantons. The article suggests that territoriality (i.e. definition of electoral districts) is the key variable for ensuring linguistic proportionality in parliament. When this is not possible, as is the case in some elections in the multilingual cantons, majoritarian systems sometimes do a better job than PR.

  • Multicultural societies
  • Consociational theory
  • Power-sharing
  • Electoral
  • Systems
  • Switzerland
  • Multilingual cantons
Affiliation Not a UNIGE publication
Citation (ISO format)
STOJANOVIC, Nenad. Do multicultural democracies really require pr? counterevidence from switzerland. In: Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft, 2006, vol. 12, n° 4, p. 131–157. doi: 10.1002/j.1662-6370.2006.tb00063.x
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1424-7755

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