Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Consociational (from Latin, consociatio —close political and social interlinkage) democracy denotes a democratic political order in which political decisions are reached mainly by negotiations between political elites. Majority rule is not the dominant technique in decision making. Rather, political actors seek to find broad compromise based on amicable arrangement. Switzerland and the Netherlands are frequently cited as examples of consociational democracy. There is a variety of conceptual definitions of consociational democracy. However, consensus exists about the antipode. This is a majoritarian democracy in which elites eschew negotiations and compromise as soon they have a plurality of 50% of the vote plus one. The best known empirical illustration is the political system of the United Kingdom. Therefore, the antipode to consociational democracy is frequently labeled “Westminster democracy” since the British parliament resides in the Palace of Westminster. The political system of postwar New Zealand comes even closer to the ideal type ...