Federation

The Austrian Federation in Comparison

The Austrian Federation in Comparison

Abstract

Among international rankings, Austria is often considered as a rather centralized country given that the Federal Constitution does not offer many legislative competences for the Länder (federal units). After an overview of key features of Austrian federalism as laid down in the Federal Constitution, this entry seeks to compare demographic facts of Austrian federalism with those of decentralized unitary systems. Further, recent issues of the country’s political discourse are outlined.  

 

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Posted by Peter Bußjäger and Mirella Johler in Case Studies, 0 comments
The Federalization of Trade Policy

The Federalization of Trade Policy

Abstract

Sub-federal units increasingly engage in international trade politics, a policy domain that is an exclusive jurisdiction of the federal level in most federations. This article conceptualizes this process as an instance of federalization, that means a shift from a mode of governance in a policy domain previously dominated by the federal level towards a mode where both tiers are simultaneously active. While the federalization of trade policy seems to be a more general trend across federal systems, the patterns of sub-federal participation and, eventually, the power of sub-federal units to shape trade policy differ significantly. Building on insights from a collaborative research project, this article discusses the causes of sub-federal mobilization and how the institutional configuration of federalism affects sub-federal units’ options to influence trade policy agreements. In the final section, the article speculates about the conditions that may reinforce or undermine this trend in the future.

 

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Posted by Jörg Broschek in Policies, 0 comments
Federalism in Iraq: A Liberal Idea in an Illiberal Place

Federalism in Iraq: A Liberal Idea in an Illiberal Place

Abstract

The introduction of federalism in Iraq was meant to address the lingering ethnic conflict between Kurds and Arabs and prevent an imminent breakup of the country.  Federalism was supposed to offer the Kurds a form of local self-determination by setting up a bulwark against the Arab policy of assimilation and other forms of discrimination.  The paper presents the Iraqi brand of federalism and attempts to explain its several shortcomings by testing the argument stemming from the paper’s title.

We provide enough evidence to prove that Iraqi federalism rests mainly on imposed institutions with no supportive local political traditions and culture. Acute nationalist feelings among the Kurds, a result of historically unrealized statehood, constitute an important part of the problem, too.

 

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Posted by Alex Danilovich in Case Studies, 0 comments
De/Centralisation in Federations

De/Centralisation in Federations

Abstract

How powers are distributed between the federal government and the constituent units of a federation, or de/centralisation, is at the heart of federalism. There has recently been renewed interest in studying de/centralisation in federations, with several works addressing conceptualisation, measurement, theorisation, and causal analysis. This piece takes stock of this literature and discusses its contributions.

 

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Posted by Alex Danilovich in Theory, 0 comments
Second Chambers In Federal States

Second Chambers In Federal States

Abstract

Second chambers have a long history and were re-designed for the purposes of federalism with the invention of the US Senate. Today, almost all federal parliaments have a bicameral structure in order to allow the constituent units to exercise shared rule. The composition and selection of federal second chambers varies very much, though: the constituent units are either represented equally or by different numbers of delegates, who are, in most cases, either appointed or elected directly or indirectly. The core function of federal second chambers relates to legislation, even though not all of them are responsible for a full range of legislative matters or other legislative functions than just (suspensive or absolute) veto powers; in some cases, they also exercise non-legislative functions. Many federal second chambers are criticized for their political inefficiency and non-representation of constituent interests. It is doubtful, however, whether they could be replaced by an alternative mechanism.

 

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Posted by Anna Gamper in Theory, 0 comments
Catalonia and Spain’s Constitutional Crisis: Time for a Federal Solution?

Catalonia and Spain’s Constitutional Crisis: Time for a Federal Solution?

Abstract

This contribution describes how a Catalan bid for more autonomy and for national recognition miscarried in 2010 after long negotiations. In this process, the major part of Catalan nationalism turned towards independence. We follow the different steps that led to the show-down in October 2017, with the failed declaration of independence and the temporary suspension of Catalan autonomy. New elections in Catalonia and in Spain have been of no use to get out of the quandary. While federal solutions if combined with a constitutional recognition of Spain’s plurinational character might be highly advisable to accommodate minority nations like Catalonia and to combine democracy and constitutionalism, fragmented party systems and minority governments on both sides make the necessary constitutional amendments even more improbable than ever.

 

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Posted by Klaus-Jürgen Nagel in Case Studies, Diversity Management, 0 comments
South Africa’s Quest for Power-Sharing

South Africa’s Quest for Power-Sharing

Abstract

In the years of transition from the authoritarian apartheid system to a new constitutional democracy, South Africa has chosen decentralisation to solve its deep-seated economic, political and societal discrepancies. This paper argues that federal principles, enshrined in both the Interim Constitution and the 1996 Constitution, played a key role in the constitutional transition to democracy and strongly contributed to the achievement of the negotiations between the different parties. However, South Africa’s (quasi) federal system is now highly centralized, with a declining autonomy for its constituent units.

 

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Posted by Fabrizio E. Crameri in Case Studies, 0 comments
Solomon Islands: A Federation that Never Was

Solomon Islands: A Federation that Never Was

Abstract

The Solomon Islands has struggled with issues of decentralisation and devolution ever since independence, but so far steered clear of embracing a federal constitution. Aspirations for ‘state government’ were complicated by the arrival of an Australian-led intervention mission over 2003-17, but a federal model also poses acute dilemmas for the country’s political elite. The Solomon Islands has become a state that repeatedly disavows its unitary form of government but so far without enacting any of the many iterations of its draft federal constitution.

 

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Posted by Jon Fraenkel in Case Studies, 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