Author: Adam W. Jelonek
Institution: Uniwersytet Jagielloński
Year of publication: 2007
Source: Show
Pages: 137-153
DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/ap200708
PDF: ap/10/ap1008.pdf

CRISIS OF CONSOCIATIONAL DEMOCRACY. THE CASE OF FIJI

The paper draws attention to the phenomenon of consociationalism and to political accommodation in divided societies. The concept of “consociationalism” has been developed by Lijphart as a theory of political stability in plural societies. In his opinion democracy and social peace can be secured in deeply divided societies when their elite engage in accommodative actions and prevent centrifugal competition of the main groups. The socio-political feature of consociational democracy is a plural society, characterised by distinct and recognisable social segments; corresponding divisions between social, economic and political organisations and stability in the electoral support for “segmental parties”.
As the proto-typical West European consociational democracies could serve the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Austria. After World War II the consociational model has also started to shape the political systems in several new-born multinational, multiracial or multireligious states of Asia and Africa.
One of the countries, which tried to solve the internal confl icts through building the multinational political coalition based on the premises of consociationalism was Fiji. The organization of the Alliance Party strictly followed the set-up of the electoral system, which combined communal roles of the ethnic Fijians, the Indo-Fijians, and the “General Electors” with national constituencies that promoted voting across the ethnic boundaries. The system thus created, however, was far from stability. The coup of 1987 and the marginalization of the Fijian Alliance put an end to the peaceful co-existence of the ethnic Fijians and the Indo-Fijians. The paper outlines the historical sources of ethnic confl icts there and the mechanism of the collapse of the consociational political system on Fiji.

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