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HOW TO SOLVE THE DILEMMA OF POWER SHARING? FORMAL AND INFORMAL PATTERNS OF REPRESENTATION IN THE SWISS MULTILINGUAL CANTONS

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Formal rules for group representation like constitutional quotas or reserved seats are among the most widespread mechanisms of power sharing in culturally heterogeneous countries. Critics, however, consider these tools as counterproductive for the establishment of peace and democracy in such societies. In this paper it is claimed that this 'dilemma of power sharing' can be tackled by focusing upon informal practices for group representation and on less rigid formal rules that indirectly or implicitly ensure power sharing. It illustrates possible institutional solutions by presenting the first comparative exploration of the patterns of group representation in the four Swiss multilingual cantons.
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Keywords: consociational theory; multilingual societies; power sharing; quotas; switzerland

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2008

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