Conflict Resolution

Is Federalism Conducive to Ethnic Outbidding?

Is Federalism Conducive to Ethnic Outbidding?

Abstract

‘Ethnic outbidding’ captures a type of electoral competition in which parties that champion the interests of ethnic groups contest each other by adopting ever more radical positions on ethnic issues. Yet, despite the fact that many of the world’s plural societies have both, significant ethnic parties and federal institutions, we do not yet know how federalism affects the likelihood of ethnic outbidding. This contribution develops some theoretical expectations about the relationship between federalism and ethnic outbidding, and discusses what kind of evidence we would need in order to test whether they hold true.

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Posted by Christina Isabel Zuber in Federalism and Conflict, Theory, 0 comments
Decentralisation and Conflict Resolution in Ukraine: The Way Forward

Decentralisation and Conflict Resolution in Ukraine: The Way Forward

Abstract

In theory, various territorial self-government arrangements (e.g. federalization, decentralization of power) are considered conducive to the resolution of intra-state territorial conflicts. Can such tools also work in the case of a conflict, marked by extensive foreign involvement? To answer this question, we will examine the linkage between the decentralisation reform in Ukraine and conflict resolution in Eastern Ukraine. A particular emphasis will be made on the implications of the local elections 2020 on both the future of the decentralisation reform and the aspired reintegration of currently uncontrolled territories.

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Posted by Maryna Rabinovych in Case Studies, 0 comments
Burundi: Power-sharing (Dis)agreements

Burundi: Power-sharing (Dis)agreements

Abstract

Ahead of the 2020 elections in Burundi, this contribution reviews the tumultuous trajectory of power-sharing in the country. From the signing of the Arusha Accord in 2000, power-sharing remained the object of persistent contestation between political rivals, leading to continuous transformations in both the institutions and the practice of power-sharing in the country. This paper traces these power-struggles and institutional evolutions throughout three periods during which Burundian power-sharing was negotiated (1998-2005), contested (2005-2015), and reshaped (2015-2020). The conclusion highlights some implications of this year’s elections for the future of power-sharing in Burundi.

 

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Posted by Alexandre W. Raffoul and Réginas Ndayiragije in Case Studies, 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
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
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
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
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
Gender Equality and Federalism

Gender Equality and Federalism

Abstract

Gender scholars argue that a federal model of governance can provide opportunities to advance gender equality and the rights of women. Those opportunities include increased opportunities to sit in public office, multiple access points for women to lobby for reform measures, encouraging policy transfer between different regions of a country, protecting women from violence by responding more effectively to ethnic diversity and conflict through the provision of autonomy, self-rule and self-determination, and enabling local concerns including the different interests of women to be better represented. In some situations, however, gender scholars argue a federal model of governance makes it difficult to achieve uniformity of laws, programs and services that benefit women, it fragments the solidarity of the women’s movements, and that it is costly and complicated to navigate making gender reform measures more difficult to implement.

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Posted by Christine Forster in Policies, 0 comments