Case Studies

Pouring Oil on Iraq’s Fragile Power Sharing Arrangement:  Kurdistan’s Autonomy and the Kurdish Oil Judgment of 2022

Pouring Oil on Iraq’s Fragile Power Sharing Arrangement: Kurdistan’s Autonomy and the Kurdish Oil Judgment of 2022

Abstract

Iraq’s constitution of 2005 was a promising one: it had been accepted in a popular referendum and implemented a federal agenda for the central government and the Kurdistan region. However, a closer look reveals that the constitution-making process was severely flawed. Indeed, some essential features of the federal system are either missing or remain largely undefined. In this short contribution, we expound on the extent to which the constitution essentially provides for a federal structure, and whether it has been properly implemented. Further examination reveals that the absence of federal regions (besides the Kurdistan region), the unclear distribution of rules, as well as the missing bicameral parliament and the law on the Federal Supreme Court, all contribute to the lack of federal practice in Iraq – leading to important anti-federal consequences, such as the 2022 Iraqi Oil Judgment.

 

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Posted by Daan Smeekens, Simon Mazidi and Eva Maria Belser in Case Studies, 0 comments

Cities in the Context of Swiss Federalism

Abstract

Communes embody the diversity of a federal state. Amongst them, cities play an important role in many regards. Various questions arise when looking into cities and city-related issues in Swiss federalism from a legal perspective. Their status is primarily determined by the cantons and thus varies from canton to canton. The Federal legislator partially deals with cities, too. Overall, this leaves us with a fragmented picture of the city as a distinct legal entity. The following article provides a brief overview of elements that position the city in the context of Swiss federalism, starting with its definition, looking at approaches taken in the cantons and at the federal level and linking cities with reform proposals.

 

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Posted by Florian Bergamin in Case Studies, 0 comments

Reconstruction without Reconciliation: The New Battle for a Decentralised Syria

Abstract

The desire for decentralisation has increased across sectarian lines within Syria, as evidenced in studies conducted by ‘The Day After Project’. Irrespective of this, power in Syria remains highly centralised in the hands of Bashar al-Assad and his Baath government. This short paper analyses the reasons behind this continued concentration of power, alluding to the security focussed legacy that Hafez al-Assad left in place for his son, and the ability of the Assad regime to utilise foreign actors to bolster his control of the economy in a post-conflict process of authoritarian reconstruction. 

 

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Posted by Nick Coleman in Case Studies, 0 comments

Concessionary Federalism as a Tactical Choice to Facilitate Constitutional Change—A Lesson from India’s Indirect Tax Reforms

Abstract

One of the key questions of research on federalism is to understand the conditions or causal mechanisms under which constitutional change—that reallocates powers between the centre and the states– becomes feasible in federal systems. However, the literature on federalism offers limited guidance on how to persuade subnational states to adopt amendments which seek to diminish their constitutionally assigned powers—especially their tax authority, which is a primordial feature of their institutional empowerment—without violating democratic decorum and federal principles. The case of indirect tax reforms in India assumes significance in this context. It adds important insights to the debate on how best to understand the circumstances under which the proposals to amend the constitutional division of powers enter the political agenda and the conditions under which they fail or are finally adopted.

 

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Posted by Chanchal Kumar Sharma in Case Studies, 0 comments

Post-Brexit Northern Ireland: Between Two Unions

Abstract

The UK’s withdrawal from the EU posed a significant challenge to the progress that had been achieved in Northern Ireland –one of the most impoverished post-conflict societies in Europe. Brexit could raise significant frictions along the territorial border between the two sides of Ireland and its all-island economy. If the UK had decided to remain in the single market and the EU customs union after Brexit, the vast majority of these challenges would have been avoided. However, since Theresa May’s Lancaster House speech, it became clear that the UK would not be part of the single market and the customs union after Brexit took place. So, the negotiations for the withdrawal of the UK from the EU were haunted by an almost unsolvable riddle.  How could the UK and the EU keep the Irish border free of any physical infrastructure without jeopardising the integrity of the EU single market?

 

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Posted by Nikos Skoutaris in Case Studies, 0 comments

Federalism and the Arab Spring

Abstract

This research proposes to analyze the background and prerequisites of the federalist experiments of the Arab Spring, describe their evolution and current state, as well as assess the prospects for the future. Political upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa led to an active rethinking of the former unitary model. At the same time in recent years decentralization has been a major topic of socio-political debate in Libya, Syria and Yemen. In each case, the reference case is the experience of the Iraqi federation, which is one of the youngest in the Arab world.

 

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Posted by Leonid Issaev and Andrey Zakharov in Case Studies, 0 comments

Aligning the Federalism Discourse in the Philippines to the Quest for Genuine Local Autonomy

Abstract

Whether the Philippines chooses to adopt or reject federalism, as has been advocated by several sectors over the past decade, should not distract from what we believe should be the ultimate target for adopting a federal form of government in the Philippines: to deepen decentralization and empower subnational governments. 

This study contributes to the literature regarding federalism’s characteristics and forms that the Philippines may choose. The first section of this study will analyze the federalism discourse in the country. Second, it will also delve into federalism as a politico-administrative instrument for “development” to hopefully end the conflict in Mindanao. Also, the continuing issues and concerns about federalism in the Philippine context will be discussed. Lastly, this paper aims to highlight the importance of keeping federalism discussions alive in the country.

 

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Posted by Alex B. Brillantes, Jr and Karl Emmanuel V. Ruiz in Case Studies, 0 comments

Covid-19 and Federal Integration in the European Union

Abstract

While all political systems have struggled with the coronavirus pandemic, this paper examines the ways in which the pandemic has affected the European integration project, particularly with respect to a quasi-federal system with shared competences in key policy areas shaping an effective Covid-19 response.  Previous crises are associated with increased European integration, especially along the lines of ‘federal integration’ – a concept model for interpreting European integration as a dynamic policymaking process.  This paper suggests that this observed link between crises and federal integration is being replicated with respect to European governance of the Covid-19 pandemic in several areas, including agencification, fiscal policy, and health policy.    These new policy approaches and instruments have – as has been the case with previous crises – strengthened the European integration project.

 

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Posted by Laurie Buonanno and Neill Nugent in Case Studies, 0 comments

South Tyrol: 50 Years of Power-Sharing and Federal-like Relations

Abstract

South Tyrol’s autonomy is based on a dissociative conflict resolution model and, building on this, on a consociational democracy. Power-sharing takes place at the horizontal level between the three officially recognised language groups, Germans, Italians, and Ladins, and primarily concerns the proportional distribution of power influence and resources. The cooperation of elites corresponds to the ethnic separation of the language groups in many institutional and social areas. At the vertical level, there is formal and informal quasi-federal cooperation between Bolzano/Bozen and Rome, with Austria playing a relevant role as the protecting power for South Tyrol. Known as a success story, in recent times South Tyrol’s autonomy faces challenges that concern the overcoming of the dissociative model and the adaptation of its consociational democracy to changing demographics and to dynamics in Italian and European constitutional politics.

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Posted by Elisabeth Alber and Günther Pallaver in Case Studies, 0 comments

Territorial Self-governance and Separatism: The Case of (Eastern) Ukraine

Abstract

Territorial self-governance can take many forms, from federation, to federacy, to devolution. Provided the conditions are right, it can contribute to conflict prevention and settlement. Ukraine exhibits many characteristics in which the application of territorial self-governance could serve as a viable approach to managing the country’s diversity, many of these conditions are not met. This is nowhere more obvious than in relation to the re-integration of the self-declared people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. Neither entity has legitimate and independent local elites, the Ukrainian state is institutionally too fragile to rise to the challenges of such a reintegration, and the current status quo, while volatile, satisfies the interests of various local, regional, and global stakeholders.

 

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Posted by Tetyana Malyarenko and Stefan Wolff in Case Studies, 0 comments