Democratic Theory and Constitutional Design: Hearing Persistent Electoral Minorities

  • Harry Hobbs
  • International Journal on Minority and Group Rights, November 2017, Brill
  • DOI: 10.1163/15718115-02404002

Making sure minority groups and peoples are heard in government

What is it about?

Democracy is often said to be the rule of the majority. This paper argues that democracy is richer than that. A democracy is a society where all members have their interests considered in the processes of government. Drawing on this, the paper explores eight different institutional mechanisms through which members of numerical minority groups can have their interests heard.

Why is it important?

Today many countries are facing considerable political division as minority groups and peoples are anxious that the majority fails to take their interests into account. We see this in both societies transitioning from authoritarianism or civil war, as well as established liberal democracies like Spain, Belgium and France. This paper argues that these challenges can only be resolved if state institutions and mechanisms enable minority groups and peoples to have their interests heard in the processes of government. It explores eight different ways that this can be achieved.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/15718115-02404002

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