Consociationalism and Vote Pooling Electoral Systems: Friends or Foes?
Democracies in divided societies are often presented with a fundamental choice of electoral system: either closed-list proportional representation or a majoritarian preferential voting system. The first is advocated by Arend Lijphart and the consociational school, the second by the centripetalists around Donald Horowitz. However, it would be wrong to conclude that consociationalism and vote pooling electoral systems are incompatible. In fact, many consociational regimes around the world have electoral systems that promote vote pooling. My paper is the first to highlight the way in which vote pooling and consociationalism actually reinforce each other in Burundi, Lebanon, Malaysia, and Northern Ireland.
Matthijs Bogaards is a visiting professor in the Department of Political Science at the Central European University. He has published widely on political parties and electoral systems in comparative perspective and on the challenges of democracy in divided societies.