Minority representation in a semi-democratic regime: the Georgian case

Type Journal Article - Democratization
Title Minority representation in a semi-democratic regime: the Georgian case
Volume 19
Issue 4
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
Page numbers 611-641
URL http://bochsler.eu/publi/zollingerbochsler_democratization2011.pdf
In liberal democracies, with unrestricted electoral competition, proportional representation
with large electoral districts is widely considered as the electoral system providing for the best
descriptive representation of ethnic minorities. This article suggests that in most semidemocracies,
the same solution might be little favourable to minorities. Many semi-democratic
countries with restricted party competition ban or limit parties of ethnic minorities, such as
Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kirgistan, Cameron, Equatorial Guinea, Tanzania,
Gabon, Kenya, Mauritania, Congo (Brazzaville). This article highlights the impact of the
electoral system and the importance of political plurality and electoral district design in such
contexts. There, the interests of minorities are best protected if they can elect their representatives
in small, ethnically homogeneous electoral districts. Plurality or majority voting systems
offer minorities the possibility to run with independent candidates. The elections to municipal
councils in Georgia in 2006 under a mixed electoral system widely reflect the hypothesised

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