In the thesis I discuss the accommodationist claim that proportionalelection systems can contribute in reducing the risk of intrastatearmed conflict in divided societies. I contend that if proportionalsystems reduce the risk of conflict anywhere, it is where ethnic differences are salient - where there are severe ethnic conflicts toabsorb into politics. I look at groups that have large demographicpower on the one hand, or are marked by high levels of negativehorizontal economic inequality on the other. I discuss a theoreticalmodel unpacking central mechanisms suggested by conflict regulationtheory and comparative political science.
By the use of the rare events logistic model I find support for myhypothesis that proportional election systems reduce the risk of conflict for relatively large ethnic groups. I hypothesize that economic inequality is less of a threat to peace under proportional systems than under majoritarian. The result from regression suggest the opposite: Increasing levels of inequality is a greater danger under proportional systems than under majoritarian. Further, my empirical investigation gives support to previous research contending that horizontal economic inequalities are a threat to intrastate peace. I also find that regulations allowing ethnic parties to compete for legislative power are associated with decline in conflictrisk. Moving beyond an interpretation of coefficient strength andsignificance, I discover that the marginal effects of proportionalelection systems are close to zero, contrary to the claimsof the advocates of both majoritarianism and proportionalism regardingdivided societies. My benign test evidences that neither themajoritarian nor the proportional election system is superior; Anyreduction in risk of armed conflict induced by the election system isnegligible.