Party, Regional and Linguistic Proportionality Under Majoritarian Rules: Swiss Federal Council Elections


wiss Political Science Review, Volume 22, Issue 1, pages 41–56, March 2016

Nenad Stojanović, Princeton University & Universität Luzern

ABSTRACT. The elections to the Swiss Federal Council in December 2015 re-established a system of party-centred concordance, cherished in consociational theory, consisting of two representatives of the Swiss People’s Party, two Radicals, two Social Democrats and one Christian Democrat. At the same time, the government has rarely been as unbalanced in terms of the representation of Switzerland’s languages and regions. The article analyses the concept of concordance with regard to both aspects of governmental inclusiveness. It also highlights the crucial role of electoral rules used in governmental elections. It argues that they resemble the Alternative Vote, a majoritarian electoral system that has been criticized in consociational theory but prescribed by the rival, centripetalist approach to power sharing.

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