Electoral Quotas and the Challenges of Democratic Transition in Conflict-Ridden Societies
A NORDEM special report:
Nils A. Butenschøn and Kåre Vollan
With contributions by Bjørn Erik Rasch and Tonje Merete Viken
September 2011, re-issued with corrections September 2014
This report addresses a major challenge in processes of political transition from open conflict to a system of democratic stability in ethnically divided societies. The dilemma is how a democratic principle of representation that reflects group-based identities can contribute to overcoming group-based conflict dynamics. This is where electoral quotas come into the picture: What are the effects of introducing quotas? Will they contribute to democratic stability or rather preserve and strengthen the cleavages that led to open conflict in the first place? In addition to the three cases of Lebanon, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Nepal (which also includes policy recommendations), the report gives a broad overview of relevant systems in the world where such quotas are applied.