A Comparison of Consociational and Centrifugal Democracy: Switzerland and Bosnia and Herzegovina

Original scientific paper

Ivan Pepić ; Global Studies Institute, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
Višeslav Raos ; Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

Fulltext: pdf (326 KB), Croatian, Pages 105 – 129 , downloads: 0 *

This paper analyzes differences between consociational and centrifugal democracy. It offers a conceptual framework for the two models and compares them through the Swiss and Bosnian Herzegovinian cases. For the first time, the concept of centrifugal democracy is attributed to the Bosnian-Herzegovinian model of democracy. This attribution is confirmed through an analysis of the historical institutional development, and of existing cleavages and conflicts among political elites. The development of Swiss consociational democracy is examined since 1848, while the development of Bosnian-Herzegovinian centrifugal democracy is assessed since 1878. The paper also considers “political correctives”, which stabilize and direct the work of political elites in Switzerland and Bosnia and Herzegovina. These comprise referenda and popular initiatives in the first case and international community in the second case. The paper concludes with an assessment of a possible process of transformation of Bosnian-Herzegovinian centrifugal democracy into consociational democracy, and provides examples of potential institutional innovations that would follow the Swiss model.

Bosnia and Herzegovina; Switzerland; Centrifugal Democracy; Consociational Democracy; Cleavages