Scholarly experts can be more helpful to democratic constitution-writers in ethnically divided countries by formulating specific recommendations than by overwhelming them with a barrage of options. Especially the following deserve the highest priority and should be the points of departure in constitutional negotiations: elections by proportional representation (specifically, closed-list proportional representation in not overly large districts), a parliamentary form of government, a cabinet in which power-sharing is prescribed in ethnic or partisan terms, a constructive vote of no confidence, a head of state elected by parliament or whose office is combined with the prime minister’s, federalism and decentralization, a federal chamber that is less powerful than the lower house and in which the smaller states are only slightly over-represented, publicly funded autonomous schools for religious groups, and little or no use of the referendum.
Constitutional Design for Divided Societies
Issue Date April 2004
Page Numbers 96-109