Fragile Bargains: Civil Conflict and Power

Fragile Bargains:
Civil Conflict and
Power-sharing in
Scott Gates and
Kaare Strøm
Centre for the Study of Civil War
Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)
Fragile Bargains:
Civil Conflict and Power-sharing in
Scott Gates
Center for the Study of Civil War, PRIO and
Norwegian University of Science & Technology (NTNU)
Kaare Strøm
University of California, San Diego and
Center for the Study of Civil War, PRIO
The Challenge of Postconflict Institutional
• Good Governance & Sustainable Civil Peace
 Good governance – effective and fair provision of
public goods and services
 Credible commitments to uphold conflict resolution
Power Sharing as a Postconflict
Institutional Solution
• Involve all potential spoilers in government
• Give all parties a stake in cooperation and provide
mutual guarantees of security and basic interests
Reduces the threat of conflict
The Logic of Power Sharing
• Focus on ex post certainty and fairness
– Fair division of the political pie
– Counters perceptions of bias and exclusion
– Entice warring parties to cease fighting
Is Power-sharing Democratic?
• Przeworski’s (1991) conception of democracy:
• ex ante uncertainty and
• ex ante openness of democratic contestation
• Strøm (1992) adds
• procedural performance sensitivity
• Ex post guarantees run counter to all three
characteristics of democracy
Essence of Power-sharing
• Ex post fairness over
• Ex ante uncertainty and
• Procedural Performance Sensitivity
• Importance of fairness in post-conflict
Expanding the Notion of Power
• Inclusive Power sharing – mandate inclusion
• Dispersed Power sharing – mandate constraints
Power-sharing Arrangements
• Grand (cabinet) coalitions
• Inclusive executive or advisory councils, such as electoral
• Mutual veto arrangements
• Proportional or broadly inclusive rules for civil service and
other administrative appointments
• Reserved executive offices for particular parties or social
• Proportional representation (PR) electoral systems,
especially closed-list
Power-sharing Arrangements
• Autonomous sub-national levels of government
• Independent institutions that ban partisan
representation (e.g. Judicial appointments)
• Non-partisan electoral commissions
• Restrict civil servants from membership in political
• Separation of religious communities and the state
• Electoral systems featuring primary elections,
personal preference votes, or transferable votes
Problems with Power Sharing
Transaction costs
Inclusion squeezes out civil society
Power-sharing and Ex Post Fairness
Spoiler Problems
• Military leaders – credible outside option
• Splinter groups
• Incumbents unwilling to leave office
Problems with Dispersed Power Sharing
• Implementation
– Trust issues
– Weak civil society
–need to work to foster and develop
indigenous NGOs
Power-sharing in Sub-Saharan Africa
• Problems of patrimonial societies
• Perceptions of procedural bias and exclusion
• Role of civil society

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