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Political Research Exchange - PRX

Consociational Democracy after Civil Wars: Whose Power?

Comparative Politics
Conflict Resolution
Ethnic Conflict
Andreas Juon
University College London
Daniel Bochsler
Central European University

Consociational Democracy – also called power-sharing – has become one of the favoured political solutions among academics and international policy-makers to build political systems after civil wars (Lijphart 1969; Walter 2002). The central promise of Consociational Democracies is that they provide both stability and democracy in divided societies (Lijphart 1977). However, these two central claims of the Consociational Democracy are both controversial: its critiques highlight that Consociational Democracies rely on an illiberal, undemocratic model of societies and of political representation, and that Consociational Democracies might spark new, ‘second-generation’ conflicts. Representing of ethnic groups tends to fix identities. This is illiberal, and it also contributes to the sharpening of political divisions, which might lead to a downward spiral of outbidding (Horowitz 1985; Reilly 2001). It offers incentives for political entrepreneurs to open new conflicts. Recent work by Mc Garry, O’Leary (2007) and McCulloch (2014) highlights the variety of Consociational Democracies; some Consociational Democracies have less rigid institutions, and they might mitigate some of the criticism.

Despite this prominent discussion, there is little knowledge about the strategic choices of political actors and the origins of different models of consociational democracy.
This study assesses pathways towards consociational democracy after civil wars. analyse how political elites shape consociational institutions after civil conflict. I expect that during peace negotiations, conflict parties attempt to introduce rules, which guarantee that their (military) power is transformed into political power, and secured in the long-run, through rigid and illiberal institutions (Jarstad 2008, 106; McCulloch 2014a, 511–513).

This paper theorises the introduction of consociational institutions after civil war, and assesses the strategies of domestic and international and the institutions introduced through a secondary analysis of the published literature, and a comparative analysis of peace agreements and post-conflict constitutions. The preliminary selection of cases includes post-cold war peace negotiations in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Iraq, and Kosovo.
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