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Satisfaction with Democracy in Multi-ethnic Countries: The Effect of Representative Political Institutions on Ethnic Minorities

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Abstract

Using survey data collected between 1997 and 2001 in ten post-communist countries, I test a set of hypotheses that explain satisfaction with democracy among members of the main ethnic minority groups within each country. First, I test whether political representation, per se, has any effect at all. Second, I examine the relationship between the type of political system and the capacity of an ethnic minority to participate in the decision-making process. In particular, I show that those minorities which have a voice in parliamentary democracies are more satisfied than other minorities which act in political systems with a more powerful president. Finally, I focus on the proportionality of an electoral system. In this sense, I show how more proportional electoral systems increase satisfaction with democracy for those minorities that either do not have any political representation at all or whose political ethnic party is small. When the ethnic political party is large, then less proportional electoral systems boost satisfaction with democracy.

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