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Do multicultural democracies really require pr? counterevidence from switzerland

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Published in Schweizerische Zeitschrift fü Politikwissenschaft. 2006, vol. 12, no. 4, p. 131-157
Abstract 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.
Keywords Multicultural societiesConsociational theoryPower-sharingElectoralSystemsSwitzerlandMultilingual cantons
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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 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:129718

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Deposited on : 2020-01-29

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