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An Analysis of Lijpharts Democracies A government by the people or democracy is an ideal rather than a precise form of governmental procedures and goals Arend Lijpharts Democracies is a comparison of the two basic models of democracy majoritarian or Westminster and consensus Each of these models use a different approach at how to best represent the people Is it more democratic to delegate policy-making power to the majority only or is it better to include minorities as well The majoritarian model holds that majority rule comes closer to the democratic ideal than a government responsive to a minority On the other hand the consensus model contends that majority rule and the government vs opposition pattern of government may be undemocratic because it is exclusionary In any case most political scientists have favored stability over other political objectives in a democracy and the majoritarian is generally considered the more stable approach The first half of this analysis will differentiate between the ideal-typical majoritarian and consensus models in detail while the second half will offer reasons why the majoritarian model should not necessarily be encouraged in all of the worlds advanced industrial democracies given that stability is the primary objective The Majoritarian Model Lipjhart states an ideal democratic government would be one whose actions were always in perfect correspondence with the preferences of all its citizens Lijphart 1 Such an ideal is of course impossible but it can serve as an ideal to which democratic regimes should aspire The majoritarian model responds to this ideal by simply granting power to the majority The British version of this model is both the original and best-known example of this model Lijphart lists the following nine elements of majoritarianism 1 Concentration of executive power one party and bare majority cabinets This provides a ruling cabinet consisting of majority party parliamentary members Thus minority parties are not included and take on the role of opposition parties 2 Fusion
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