Electoral systems and the protection and participation of minorities
24 October 2006
A4, 36pp, ISBN 1 904584 55 1
The protection of minorities and their inclusion in the political process is essential to both avoiding and resolving conflicts. But minorities are often excluded from electoral reform, constitution drafting and the creation of new governments.
By considering the electoral systems behind different conflict situations worldwide, this report shows how the participation of minorities in the legislative process at the stage of electoral reform is a key tool for peace-building and future conflict prevention. Protection of minority rights is best achieved and articulated through a combination of majority sensitivity and minority inclusion.
The report focuses on electoral systems, the way votes are translated into seats, and its impact on the representation of minority communities. It outlines the menu of electoral system options and their consequences; the process of electoral system design and reform; and discusses how the system chosen affects not just the numbers of minority members elected but also how the system can mould elite behaviours and levels of inclusion and accommodation.
This report is also available in French.