Exclusion amid Inclusion: Power-Sharing and Non-Dominant Minorities

Lead Research Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast
Department Name: Sch of Hist, Anthrop, Philos & Politics

Abstract

In 2009 the European Court of Human Rights ruled 14-3 that Bosnia-Herzegovina's election rules for its tripartite presidency, which allow only Bosniaks, Bosnian Croats, and Bosnian Serbs to stand for election, were discriminatory against other minority groups, namely the Roma and Jewish communities. This is because Bosnia's constitutional framework, alongside the presidential arrangement, is designed to accommodate and include the three constituent peoples but not members who prefer not to identify in terms of three ethnic groups. While this was thought necessary to end the 1992-5 war (Weller and Wolff 2005), it has forestalled the consolidation of democracy and has marginalised individuals and groups who do not identify with the three dominant communities. As Jakob Finci, the leader of Bosnia's Jewish community who took the case to the ECHR, noted in response to the ruling, Bosnia's institutional rules are "a problem of injustice that divides Bosnian people into first and second class citizens" (Balkanist 2015).
Power-sharing, which entails the representation and participation of major societal (ethnic) actors in the process of governing, has been adopted in places as diverse as Burundi, Lebanon, Kosovo, Macedonia, Northern Ireland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Iraq and has facilitated a war-to-peace transition in some of the world's most deeply divided places. However, while power-sharing is often heralded as a democratic and inclusive approach to managing ethnic difference, it faces a significant trade-off. For power-sharing to create stability and pacify the divided groups, it must marginalise those actors who were not directly involved in conflict, who we refer to as non-dominant groups. As part of this project, we identify three kinds of non-dominant groups who were neglected in the original design of power-sharing institutions and remain on the sidelines of postconflict politics: non-ethnic minorities, re-aligned minorities, and micro-minorities.
We refer to this institutional bias in favour of large groups as the "exclusion amid inclusion" (EAI) dilemma. We seek to answer the following research question: How can power-sharing arrangements best be implemented to account for the EAI problem? This research project is designed to confront the EAI dilemma and offer feasible and viable recommendations for its resolution.
We seek to answer the following research question: How can power-sharing arrangements best be implemented to account for the EAI problem? We answer this question through a threefold methodological approach. We shall conduct 1) a macro-political analysis of power-sharing institutions to assess their ability to redress the EAI dilemma, 2) four comparative case studies (Northern Ireland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Lebanon and Macedonia) investigating the relationship between the inclusion of dominant groups and the exclusion of non-dominant groups, employing a "structured, focused" method of comparison (George and Bennett 2005), and 3) semi-structured interviews with politicians from parties that participate in power-sharing and from parties that struggle for legislative representation, community activists from the three kinds of non-dominant groups identified, and representatives of international organisations engaged in democracy promotion and conflict resolution.
Overall, we assess the experiences of states engaged in power-sharing in order to develop a series of policy proposals for modifying the institutional framework to accommodate identity groups that have either been marginalised under the initial institutional design, or who have emerged during the period of peace. This is of timely relevance: our conceptual framework can be extended to societies beyond our comparative cases where peace is marred by episodic violence, frozen conflict, and/or active violent conflict between the dominant groups, but also affecting the non-dominant groups.

Planned Impact

The postconflict divided societies we study in the project house some of the most intractable conflicts in the world. This necessitates fresh ideas and proposals about building stable state institutions and economies. Our underpinning research will benefit those making policy and those striving to bring greater understanding between different factions involved in resolving the EAI dilemma. Integral to the proposed research is the ambition to work closely with policymakers at the research, writing up and dissemination phases of the project and to contribute directly to the effectiveness of public policy. This will be done by communication of the findings of the project directly to senior policymakers in Northern Ireland, Macedonia, Bosnia, and Lebanon, as well as at EU level and several other current and prospective member states, including the UK. Our project will provide underpinning research to grapple with these challenges, built on close dialogue we will maintain with:
a) the local and European policymaking community, advising them on tools to reassess policies and behaviour in key areas of postconflict institution building. Involving both the political and regional elites representing sectors of society and culture, we envisage that the influence of our research will aid in minimising the impact of power-sharing institutions on exclusion of non-dominant groups.
b) civil society activists and political elites, developing reports and policy briefings that will be used to strengthen inter-communal dialogue and reflection. This will allow social and political elites to maintain expertise to deliver penetrating and comprehensive analyses of opportunities for inclusion of non-dominant groups into power-sharing political process beyond the period of funding envisaged for the project.
c) NGOs and groups representing micro-minorities, non-ethnic groups, and realigned minorities will be able to assess opportunities for individuals to improve sustainably their input into process of institutional and policy change in the four polities we study. This will create momentum for self-sustaining work in countries we will have studied, procure additional diverse benefits to policymakers in the target countries and to a broad set of regional and international actors involved in postconflict state institution building.
The fundamental lessons from our project will include identification of gaps in provisions by state and established political actors and societal needs and will offer the definitive basis for changing actual practice at the communal level. We will identify strategies for policymakers and constitutional designers that can balance the need for the representation and participation of both dominant and non-dominant groups and we will work closely with community activists highlighting strategies that can facilitate their demands for greater inclusion in power-sharing processes. The enhancement of presentation of our three excluded groups will prove useful to those working to overcome inter-communal divisions and perceptions of the systemic exclusion from public life. Representatives of the three groups we study in detail will be involved in informing and formulating policy development in our case study countries under the aegis of our project, which will provide a neutral platform for discussion of sensitive issues of political exclusion in divided societies. This research aims to support attempts at constitutional, political and policy reform in deeply divided societies, including but not restricted to, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Lebanon and Northern Ireland.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description IPSA colloquium: Democratization and Constitutional Design in Divided Societies 
Organisation International Political Science Association
PI Contribution Under the leadership of the members of research project, this conference brought together three IPSA research committees (14, 13 and 28) to examine the challenges of designing democratic institutions in divided societies. The conference provided an opportunity to examine the role of different factors (e.g., ethnicity, gender, class, political institutions, efficacy of multi-level governance, the intersection between peace and democratic stability) in fostering democratization in the context of regional and global integration. The conference reflected upon the constitutional design process in Cyprus as well as proposals that develop case studies or comparison of issues of democratization evident in any part of the world or those which engage a theoretical perspective on institutional and constitutional designs in ethnically, religiously, nationally and linguistically divided societies.
Collaborator Contribution The conference was convened at the University of Cyprus, Nicosia (host institution), at the time when the country was undergoing a complex and historic process of designing political institutions to bridge the gap between the island's divided communities. The conference brought together more than 130 participants, including around 50 early career scholars, from over 40 countries. Over three days in Nicosia, we ran 35 panels on a range of topics, including: Culture, Territory and Community in Diverse Societies; Comparative Perspective on Political Participation in Divided Societies; Gender, Power-Sharing and Peace Processes; The Cypriot Diaspora in a Comparative Perspective; From Paper to Peace? Examining the Role of Institutional Design in War-to-peace Transitions; Substate Nationalisms and Multilevel Governance. Highlights from the conference include the keynote address by John McGarry (Queen's University) on "What Explains the Performance of Power-Sharing Settlements?" and a roundtable discussion on "A Federal Cyprus? Comparative Perspectives on Reunification" organized by Neophytos Loizides (University of Kent).
Impact There is a range of individual publications in preparation as a result of this conference, including a special issue of the journal International Political Science Review (IPSR) to be published in 2019 (submission date June 2018) that is guest edited by the PI and CoI.
Start Year 2016
 
Description IPSA colloquium: Democratization and Constitutional Design in Divided Societies 
Organisation University of Cyprus
Country Cyprus 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Under the leadership of the members of research project, this conference brought together three IPSA research committees (14, 13 and 28) to examine the challenges of designing democratic institutions in divided societies. The conference provided an opportunity to examine the role of different factors (e.g., ethnicity, gender, class, political institutions, efficacy of multi-level governance, the intersection between peace and democratic stability) in fostering democratization in the context of regional and global integration. The conference reflected upon the constitutional design process in Cyprus as well as proposals that develop case studies or comparison of issues of democratization evident in any part of the world or those which engage a theoretical perspective on institutional and constitutional designs in ethnically, religiously, nationally and linguistically divided societies.
Collaborator Contribution The conference was convened at the University of Cyprus, Nicosia (host institution), at the time when the country was undergoing a complex and historic process of designing political institutions to bridge the gap between the island's divided communities. The conference brought together more than 130 participants, including around 50 early career scholars, from over 40 countries. Over three days in Nicosia, we ran 35 panels on a range of topics, including: Culture, Territory and Community in Diverse Societies; Comparative Perspective on Political Participation in Divided Societies; Gender, Power-Sharing and Peace Processes; The Cypriot Diaspora in a Comparative Perspective; From Paper to Peace? Examining the Role of Institutional Design in War-to-peace Transitions; Substate Nationalisms and Multilevel Governance. Highlights from the conference include the keynote address by John McGarry (Queen's University) on "What Explains the Performance of Power-Sharing Settlements?" and a roundtable discussion on "A Federal Cyprus? Comparative Perspectives on Reunification" organized by Neophytos Loizides (University of Kent).
Impact There is a range of individual publications in preparation as a result of this conference, including a special issue of the journal International Political Science Review (IPSR) to be published in 2019 (submission date June 2018) that is guest edited by the PI and CoI.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Workshop Exclusion amid Inclusion?: How Power Sharing Engages Non-Dominant Communities 
Organisation Brandon University
Department Department of Political Science
PI Contribution This conference addressed this critical issue of the exclusion of non-dominant groups that are not explicitly represented in power-sharing agreements; of exclusion amid inclusion. It allowed for the first presentation of projects results. It brought together scholars concerned with this question from a range of perspectives, disciplines and fields, including but not limited to: democracy in divided societies, conflict resolution, democratization, post-conflict state building, political settlements, ethnic politics, gender, nationalism and national identity, migration and equality and diversity studies. A number of related topics was explored in this two day event, including the impact of power-sharing on non-aligned groups, such as non-ethnic political parties, civic social movements, migrant communities, women and LGBTQ groups.
Collaborator Contribution Keynote delivered by the CoI of the project; her travel was supported by her host institution (Brandon; contribution in kind)
Impact A range of single papers are now in preparation as a result of this event; the project team is currently preparing a special section for publication in 2018 in the Nationalism and Ethnic Politics journal. The team had an opportunity to present the research project to a series of community organisations in N Ireland during the conference and engaged several of their representatives as participants of the roundtable at the event.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Workshop Exclusion amid Inclusion?: How Power Sharing Engages Non-Dominant Communities 
Organisation Queen's University Belfast
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This conference addressed this critical issue of the exclusion of non-dominant groups that are not explicitly represented in power-sharing agreements; of exclusion amid inclusion. It allowed for the first presentation of projects results. It brought together scholars concerned with this question from a range of perspectives, disciplines and fields, including but not limited to: democracy in divided societies, conflict resolution, democratization, post-conflict state building, political settlements, ethnic politics, gender, nationalism and national identity, migration and equality and diversity studies. A number of related topics was explored in this two day event, including the impact of power-sharing on non-aligned groups, such as non-ethnic political parties, civic social movements, migrant communities, women and LGBTQ groups.
Collaborator Contribution Keynote delivered by the CoI of the project; her travel was supported by her host institution (Brandon; contribution in kind)
Impact A range of single papers are now in preparation as a result of this event; the project team is currently preparing a special section for publication in 2018 in the Nationalism and Ethnic Politics journal. The team had an opportunity to present the research project to a series of community organisations in N Ireland during the conference and engaged several of their representatives as participants of the roundtable at the event.
Start Year 2017