Federalism

Minorities in Consociational Power-Sharing

Minorities in Consociational Power-Sharing

Abstract

Consociational power-sharing requires representation of politically relevant groups’ in halls of government to stop violence and place checks on the rule by a single group. But regardless of the admirable aspiration for inclusive government and politics, who is to be represented and whose participation counts is based exclusively on all-around identities (such as ethnicity, denomination), leaving the interests of non-dominant groups’ open for co-optation into ethnic blocs of those guaranteed the right to veto political dynamics. Mandated cooperation between elites of only selected groups challenges equitable representation of all segments of the electorate in equal measure to undermining consociations’ ability to respond to concerns of the general public. More often than not, non-dominant, minority groups in consociations are accommodated only pro forma as the elites of dominant groups are expected to cooperate regardless of the input from elites of minorities, who at will can be co-opted by the dominant groups to attain their own particular ends. The representation of the interests of members of the non-dominant, minority, and ‘other’ groups thus follows from, rather than accompanies, the consolidation of dominant groups’ political identities in the otherwise shared power-sharing polity.

 

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Posted by Timofey Agarin, 0 comments
Unitarization of Federation: A Path to Stability? – The Contemporary Russian Case

Unitarization of Federation: A Path to Stability? – The Contemporary Russian Case

Abstract

Federation and federalism are not equal categories. Sometimes federation is very formal with the absence of federalism, but flowering unitarism. Such form can be a result of the intention to provide more stability and security to the state, but where is the border which ensures the equilibrium in consideration of regional interests and rights and at the same time with paying respect to federal powers?  This contribution analyses the implications of federalism and unitarism in a federal state on issues of stability and security using the example of contemporary Russia. The author reveals two major stages of contemporary federal development in Russia: one with huge decentralization, which led to cracked stability of the federal state at the end of the 20th century, and unitarization of the federation as the next step aiming to stabilize federation as the modern stage. This contribution concludes that what is important to understand is the border, where the level of unitarism is still acceptable in such a type of community in order not to lose control and equilibrium and finally to ensure stability and security.

 

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Posted by Elena A. Kremyanskaya in Case Studies, 0 comments
Language Policy in India: An Unstable Equilibrium?

Language Policy in India: An Unstable Equilibrium?

Abstract

This article provides a short overview of language policy in India and situates this within a broader comparative perspective. It argues that India successfully managed to defuse linguistic conflict at the time of independence by combining elements of linguistic territoriality with the protection of linguistic minorities (personality) and the retention of English as an associate official link language. However, the article also shows how this ‘Indian’ middle way in language policy is currently being challenged by the rise of Hindi ‘majoritarian’ nationalism and the rise of regional (state) linguistic nationalism in response. 

 

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Posted by Wilfried Swenden in Diversity Management, Policies, 0 comments
Intergovernmental Councils and the Stability of Federal Systems

Intergovernmental Councils and the Stability of Federal Systems

Abstract

Intergovernmental councils not only increase the effectiveness and efficiency of public policy-making, they can also contribute to federal stability. Regular meetings of members of governments shape the way federal systems deal with the increasingly interdependent relationship between the governments of a federation. When policy problems cut across jurisdictions, governments’ autonomy is at stake. Looking at examples of major reforms of fiscal policy in Australia, Canada, Germany, and Switzerland, this article identifies the conditions under which intergovernmental councils protect governments’ authority, discretion, and resources so as to avoid federal tensions. Federal governments, in particular, have been eager to get involved in many policy areas for which the constituent units are responsible. Hence, the extent to which intergovernmental councils contribute to the stability of today’s federations ultimately depends on their ability to make the federal government agree on joint solutions with the federated entities.

 

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Posted by Johanna Schnabel in Theory, 0 comments
Rebalancing Federal Citizenship in Canada

Rebalancing Federal Citizenship in Canada

Abstract

In multinational federations, tensions around national identities, rights and entitlements, and power-sharing arrangements are endemic and never finally resolved. In Canada, simultaneous constitutional and fiscal crises in the 1990s brought into question the legitimacy of the ‘federal bargain’ at the core of the citizenship regime. The federal government’s response was to introduce a number of institutional, programmatic, fiscal and symbolic reforms that adjusted the delicate balance between national unity and the accommodation of diversity. This pragmatic political vision, replete with certain asymmetries and ambiguities, enabled Canada to rebuild and rebalance its way to its own unique shade of federalism.

 

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Posted by James Bickerton in Case Studies, 0 comments
Measuring Federalism and Decentralisation

Measuring Federalism and Decentralisation

Abstract

In this article I argue that federal scholars are well-advised to think of federalism as a continuum whereby subnational units can have more or less autonomy rather than allocating countries into federal and non-federal categories. The Regional Authority Index (RAI) measures the extent of self-rule and shared rule of regional government on an annual basis since 1950 and it reveals that regional autonomy arrangements in federal countries are more likely to be affected by reform than non-federal countries. In addition, self-rule appears to be the object of decentralization in non-federal countries whereas decentralization in federal countries has mostly affected shared rule. These are surprising results which come to the fore only when one escapes categorical thinking. The RAI also changes the way in which we think about the impacts of regional governance and thereby a whole new research agenda is being opened up.

 

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Posted by Arjan H. Schakel in Theory, 0 comments
The Three Shades of American Federalism

The Three Shades of American Federalism

Abstract

Donald Trump is a transgressive president elected by a minority of voters but elevated to the White House by a quintessential institution of American federalism, the Electoral College. However, the federal system otherwise poses significant barriers to transgressive behaviour because it is a complex mix of dualism, intergovernmental cooperation, and national coercion. The system’s constitutional dualism allows space for autonomous state policy-making. The system’s rule-bound and bureaucratic structures of intergovernmental policy implementation limit the ability of one president to substantially alter this cooperative dimension of the system. The long-run trend, though, is toward greater centralization and federal government coercion of state and local governments.

 

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Posted by John Kincaid in Case Studies, 0 comments
Guaranteeing Federalism in Post-Conflict Societies

Guaranteeing Federalism in Post-Conflict Societies

Abstract

Federalism is at the heart of many current and proposed conflict resolution settlements. It provides territorially concentrated groups, usually those that are minorities within the wider state, with autonomy over a range of matters. Yet such arrangements are often unhappy compromises, with identity groups pursuing higher levels of autonomy, up to and including secession or unification with a neighbouring kin-state, and central government seeking to limit the level of autonomy to retain power and protect against state break-up. The compromise nature of such measures and the post-conflict context in which they operate makes them inherently unstable. This paper assesses the potential of guarantee mechanisms to overcome the innate instability of federlaism as a conflict resolution mechanism by examining two cases, Bosnia, and Iraq, where federalism was a key element of a political agreement aimed at ameliorating intra-state group based conflict.

 

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Posted by Dawn Walsh in Federalism and Conflict, 0 comments
Examining Quebec-Canada Relations:  A Case-Study of Health Care

Examining Quebec-Canada Relations: A Case-Study of Health Care

Abstract

The original Constitution of Canada, the British North America Act of 1867 (BNAA), empowers two orders of government with clearly demarcated areas of legislative competences.  The Quebec government has been keen, especially since the early 1960 with the advent of the Quiet Revolution, to occupy in full its own fields of jurisdictions and to stop Ottawa from intervening in provincial domains. This was often done through the use of an opting out clause that was made available to all provinces although, in the end, Quebec was the only one to make full use of it. This text presents a case study of the recent healthcare agreements between Quebec and the central government. It points out the different relations between the provinces in relation to health care, specifically that while all other provinces sought to find a compromise on health care agreements, Quebec was successful in having its constitutional competences recognized.


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Posted by Alain-G. Gagnon and Jean-Denis Garon in Policies, 0 comments
The Federalism Debates in Nepal and Myanmar: From Ethnic Conflict to Secession-risk Management

The Federalism Debates in Nepal and Myanmar: From Ethnic Conflict to Secession-risk Management

Abstract

Nepal and Myanmar both committed to establishing federalism in response to ethnic conflict and a secession risk. However, while Nepal has successfully enacted a federal constitution following a participatory process, Myanmar’s elite-based negotiations have slowed considerably. The management of the secession risk is the key issue pervading the federalism debates in these countries. This is especially manifest in decisions about how and where to draw provincial boundaries (ethnic versus territorial federalism) and the division of powers. Such design features can help overcome the perception within Myanmar’s military that federalism will lead to secession, which remains a significant hurdle.

 

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Posted by Michael G Breen in Case Studies, 0 comments