Arend Lijphart, a scholar in the study of types of democracies, defines Power-Sharing or Consociational democracy as including the following elements:
(1) Government by a "grand coalition " that include representatives of all major linguistic and religious groups
(2) Cultural autonomy for these groups
(3) Proportionality in political representation and civil service appointments
(4) A minority veto with regard to vital minority rights and autonomy.
It is a "grand coalition" cabinet comprising the representative parties and Cabinet positions are divided in proportion to the percentage of votes acquired at election. What differentiates Power Sharing from the simple coalition is that Power Sharing is constitutionally mandated while the latter is not.
Any grand coalition must be premised on an agreed national direction that includes agreement on a broad national developmental program. The leaders of the various segments must have a deep and abiding commitment to the unity of the nation and must be prepared to uphold the laws and the democratic process. Cooperation and compromise are the essential principles and must be predicated on a willingness of the leaders of one segment to work with the other segments.
But even as the leaders try to cooperate with each other, they must hold their respective constituencies together. In this regard, the leaders must be more tolerant than their followers and must have the ability to strike compromises in the interest of the nation even when those compromises are not popular with their `followers'. These leaders must, according to Lijphart "perform a difficult balancing act." Leaders must therefore be bold, creative, and must have the trust of their followers. Lijphart also makes the point that while it is important for leaders to carry the masses along, it is also important for them to get the support of the second level leadership of the parties.... [continues]
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