Paulina Pospieszna / Gerald Schneider

The Illusion of ‘Peace Through Power-Sharing’: Constitutional Choice in the Shadow of Civil War

Civil Wars, 15, 2013, 44-70

Conflict managers around the world cling to the hope that power-sharing decreases the risk of civil war in post-conflict societies. Distinguishing between territorial and governmental conflicts, we analyse the origin and effectiveness of power-sharing institutions (PSI) and power-sharing arrangements (PSA). Our examination reveals that power-sharing is largely a consequence of the institutional legacy and of the war outcome. While PSI such as proportional representation or federalism cannot prevent a war from recurring, PSA in the form of grand coalitions reduces this risk marginally. However, granting autonomy to a rebellious region increases the danger that the relationship with the government turns violent again. Our results suggest that constitution makers should advocate power-sharing with caution.