In Switzerland, political concordance or direct popular rights and the resulting consociational democracy are often held responsible for delay or even cancellation of necessary political reforms. Switzerland is, however, not the only country with such a system, and direct democracy is just one out of several mechanisms fostering political concordance. Moreover, as the examples of the United States and Germany show, a concordant political system might show up even if the government does not reflect this. Thus, we first describe different manifestations of political concordance. Then, we ask for institutional preconditions for successful political reforms before the situations in Switzerland and Germany are discussed more detailed. The experience of both countries shows that political concordance is not per se destructive for political reforms, it can even be conductive. This very much depends on the concrete institutional design of political concordance.
Political Concordance Consociational Democracy Divided Government Economic and Political Reforms Westminster-System Germany Switzerland