The Institutional Framework of Representative Democracy; Comparing the Populist-Majoritarian and the Liberal/Consensual Model


Although the literature shows a bewildering variety of typologies of representative democracy, the most important distinctions can be subsumed under a basic dichotomy with, on the one hand, a populist-majoritarian model, and on the other hand a liberal/consensual model. That latter model comes in two varieties: a liberal model based on the division of power, and a consensual model based on the sharing of power. The search for the best model is hampered by the fact that so many criteria are biased in favour of a particular model, and by the ambition to find a universally valid answer, ignoring the interaction of the institutional architecture with the structure and culture of society.

In: Rohrschneider R., Thomassen J. (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Political Representation in Liberal Democracies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 95-112
Tom Louwerse
Tom Louwerse
Associate Professor

Associate Professor in Political Science at Leiden University