Consociation, Switzerland and Bosnia and Herzegovina Cover Image

Konsocijacija, Švajcarska i BiH
Consociation, Switzerland and Bosnia and Herzegovina

Author(s): Nenad Stojanović
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences
Published by: Univerzitet u Sarajevu
Keywords: Bosnia and Herzegovina; Switzerland; consociation; democracy; multicultural societies; nation; federalism

Summary/Abstract: Consociational democracy is often considered as a possible model for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The examples of Western countries that have allegedly successfully implemented such a model are put forward. Yet the key example is Switzerland. In this essay the author analyses the Swiss case, underlining its similarities, and especially its differences, with Bosnia and Herzegovina: the concept of nation, the role of languages and religions, the territorial principle. Special attention is paid to the issue of institutions. The article shows that, indeed, some Swiss institutions, such as parliament, attack the civic-democratic principle of “one person, one vote” and combine it with the territorial-federal principle which favours smaller territorial units (cantons). But this does not mean yet that Switzerland is really a consociation. Contrary to the consociational model the Swiss constitution does not institutionalise linguistic groups and their rights. The presence of linguistic groups in state institutions is ensured through informal practices and indirect institutional mechanisms. This is one of the reasons which explains why Switzerland is not a multination states, composed of linguistically defined nations-peoples, but a civic multilingual nation-state.

  • Issue Year: XLVIII/2007
  • Issue No: 3-4
  • Page Range: 63-87
  • Page Count: 25
  • Language: Bosnian