These two types of democracy represent coherent and therefore ideal polities maximising the basic ideas of either majoritarian or power-sharing politics. It is easy to identify Switzerland and the UK as two polities that correspond to most criteria of one of the models. The UK systematically favours the logic of majority rule: Competitive elections between two main parties based on one major political division (left-right) lead to clear parliamentary majorities. The winner-takes-all rule makes parliamentary majorities sensitive to even small changes in the electorate’s preferences; the losing party becomes Her Majesty’s Official Opposition. Because of its parliamentary majority, the executive cabinet is empowered to realise its policy programme, as long as there is no successful vote of no confidence, which may necessitate resignation and an early election. Power is concentrated among the parliamentary majority and the cabinet. The House of Lords has few competencies; almost all legislative power belongs to the House of Commons. The latter may change constitutional documents in the same way as any other laws, with very few judicial constraints. One may speak of a nearly ‘sovereign’ parliament, with the main exceptions of devolution of power to Scotland and, Wales and Northern Ireland, and of more some independence given to the Bank of England. A similar coherence of elements, but with the opposite goal of power-sharing and negotiating politics, is found in the consensus model of Switzerland. Lately, both Switzerland and the UK have somewhat moved away from the ideal models in becoming less consensual, the first, and less majoritarian, the latter.

-Swiss Democracy by Wolf Linder

I do not understand what does "coherence of elements" refer to here.

According to Cambridge dictionary coherence means:

the situation when the parts of something fit together in a natural or reasonable way:

And According to Merriam-Webster

systematic or logical connection or consistency

I interpret this as: the author refers to the consistemcy of elements in the politics of United Kingdom. Such as the connection between authorities, the cabinet and parliament and etc.

1 Answer 1


"Coherence" is being used pretty much according to the M-W dictionary definition: "systematic or logical connection or consistency".

The addition of the word "elements" is pretty much redundant - it merely underlines that the policies of (almost) any political party are complex/multiple.

Put together, this is basically talking about the inevitable situation where different parts of a political system, whether that be partners in a coalition, or the different "Houses" within the UK parliament have different priorities and goals. Sometimes those goals are at odds, but when they are not, then things are seen to be "coherent".

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