Federalism

Covid-19 and Federal Integration in the European Union

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
Asymmetrical Federalism and Conflict Management in Cyprus

Asymmetrical Federalism and Conflict Management in Cyprus

Abstract

This paper discusses the institutional and normative theory of asymmetrical federalism as it relates to the management of ethnonational diversity in Cyprus, highlighting the need for multinational federalism to accommodate common as well as distinct identities in Cyprus. It is argued that multinational federalism necessitates constitutional asymmetry and that the better adaptation of asymmetric federalism to regulate federal institutions in Cyprus depends on the promotion of a broader understanding of the concepts of “federal separateness” and “federal togetherness.”

 

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Posted by Gülay Umaner-Duba in Case Studies, 0 comments
Federalism in Sri Lanka: One Concept, Two Conceptions?

Federalism in Sri Lanka: One Concept, Two Conceptions?

Abstract

Federalism is broadly defined as a political system in which power is shared between a central government and state governments. However, federalism has come to mean two different things to Sri Lankans. As such, the following article traces the evolution of the concept of federalism among the Sinhalese and Tamils of Sri Lanka.  

 

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Posted by Rochel Canagasabey in Case Studies, 0 comments
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
Voting, Elections and US Federalism: The Federal Government Perspective

Voting, Elections and US Federalism: The Federal Government Perspective

Abstract

This article examines the U.S. Constitution’s treatment of voting and elections and the use that the federal government has made of the powers granted to it by the Constitution.  Because the thirteen states that formed the nation differed in the qualifications they imposed for voting, the Constitution originally avoided setting national qualifications, authorizing persons to vote in federal elections if they could vote for the lower house of their state legislature. Constitutional amendments have established a federal floor on voting qualifications, forbidding discrimination based on race, gender, age, and ability to pay a poll tax. States have largely regulated both their own and federal elections, but the Constitution grants the federal government concurrent authority in this area, and the constitutional amendments have granted it authority to enact “appropriate legislation” to enforce their prohibitions of discrimination.  Congress relied on that authority to adopt the Voting Rights Act of 1965, giving the federal government unprecedented power to supervise state elections and voting regulations.  This power has been circumscribed by Supreme Court rulings in recent years, leading Democrats in Congress to introduce bills to restore that power. Congress has also legislated to facilitate voting more generally, though Republicans have sought instead to restrict voting, claiming that this will combat election fraud. A major piece of legislation, the For the People Act, is currently before Congress, designed to nationalize election regulations and facilitate voting, but it faces strong Republican opposition, and its fate is uncertain.

 

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Posted by Alan Tarr in Case Studies, 0 comments
Where does financial responsibility lie? Emerging paradigms from a comparison between Germany and Spain

Where does financial responsibility lie? Emerging paradigms from a comparison between Germany and Spain

Abstract

Financial responsibility traces the academic and political debate of any decentralising process. This is even more so in the European context, in which taxes – exclusively set and regulated by the subnational legislator – play a marginal role in subnational financing, though in theory they are the most genuine instrument for making SNGs pay for their decisions. Against this framework, this contribution delves into a selection of case studies (i.e., Germany and Spain) testing the principle of financial responsibility from a comparative and legal perspective. The basic assumption is that the way in which the vertical fiscal gap is addressed influences the degree of financial autonomy (and hence responsibility) of subnational entities. As such, the major issue at stake is the revenue structure of the subnational level of government, with regard to the legal tools and procedures devoted to revenue-sharing, as these elements play a key-role in defining the extent to which SNGs are made financially and politically responsible for their financing.

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Posted by Alice Valdesalici in Theory, 0 comments
The Forgotten Federalism of Venezuela

The Forgotten Federalism of Venezuela

Abstract

Venezuela has been pursuing decentralization since its independence in 1830. The nation has always followed an Anglo-Saxon federalist model that has been difficult to achieve over the years. Venezuela has had twenty-five Constitutions since 1811, most of which declared the country a federation. National power has always moved like a pendulum swinging between autocratic regimes to decentralized systems. From 1988 to 1998, the nation had a remarkable advance in the ratification of a federalist system. In 1999 after the election of President Hugo Chavez, the country stopped any efforts of decentralization and started a new authoritarian cycle.

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Posted by Maria Fernanda Ortega in Case Studies, 0 comments
Asymmetric Federalism and Protection of Indigenous Peoples: The Case of Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysian Federalism

Asymmetric Federalism and Protection of Indigenous Peoples: The Case of Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysian Federalism

Abstract

In Malaysia, federalism is not in general designed to deal with the problem of ethnic differences. Sabah and Sarawak, on the island of Borneo, are, however, exceptions, as their identity largely reflects the indigenous people of those states. Having been admitted to the federation to form Malaysia in 1963, these states have extra constitutional powers and guarantees compared to the other 11 states of Malaysia. However, over the last six decades the autonomy guaranteed to them has been eroded by political interference, and there is a strong resentment of the federal system as it is, based on the federation’s failure, in the eyes of many Sabahans and Sarawakians, to honour the terms of the original agreement, or to respect the land rights and interests of the indigenous people. This paper argues that, despite constitutional safeguards and asymmetric powers, the autonomy of these states has not been protected.

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Posted by Andrew Harding in Case Studies, 0 comments
On the Relationship between Federalism, Decentralization, and Statehood

On the Relationship between Federalism, Decentralization, and Statehood

Abstract

This brief study looks empirically at the relationship between federalism, decentralization, and statehood. This relationship is often studied by case studies, rather than looking at the subject from a broader empirical perspective. The analysis is based on a sample of 49 countries from different world regions, using data from the Fragile States Index (FSI) and the Regional Authority Index (RAI). The findings show that the degree of statehood is not related to a federal structure of a state, but related to the degree of decentralization.

 

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Posted by Christoph Mohamad-Klotzbach in Theory, 0 comments
Towards Recentralisation?: Thailand’s 2014 Coup, Tutelage Democracy and their Effects on Local Government

Towards Recentralisation?: Thailand’s 2014 Coup, Tutelage Democracy and their Effects on Local Government

Abstract

Due to the tenacious rivalry between the royalist-nationalist faction and its pro-liberal counterpart nationwide since 2006, the traditional elites and the military have sought to reinvigorate their political hegemony, especially through the recentralisation scheme under the tutelage democratic regime. However, it appears too hasty to conclude at this stage that hopes for decentralisation in Thailand are fading. A growing public appetite for popular democracy and local self-government which led to mass protests in 2020 seems to keep such hopes alive. Meanwhile, recent problems, notably the persistent air pollution in Chiang Mai and economic fallout exacerbated by the outbreak of Covid-19, further expose the problems pertaining to recentralisation. This article seeks to assess the adverse effects of the 2014 coups and tutelage democracy on Thailand’s decentralisation process as well as how political struggles for liberal democracy nonetheless help preserve hopes for this process.

 

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Posted by Andrew Harding and Rawin Leelapatana in Case Studies, 0 comments