Political Pacts- No Promise of Peace?: no promise of peace
2006 (English)In: Paper prepared for the 2006 Conference on Globalization and Peacebuilding, arranged by the Swedish Network of Peace, Conflict and Development Research, Uppsala, 6–8 November 2006, and for the 40th Annual Meeting of the Peace Science Society, Columbus, Ohio, 10–12 November 2006., 2006Conference paper (Other (popular scientific, debate etc.))
Do political power-sharing arrangements lead to durable peace? Power sharing has become a preferred choice for policy makers to facilitate peacebuilding. However, the scientific support of the effectiveness of power sharing in this regard remains weak. In some cases, such as South Africa, power sharing is indeed associated with democracy and peace. On the other hand, the genocide in Rwanda, following a settlement containing provisions for power sharing, suggests that such changes of power balance can at worst be followed by violent conflict. Also statistical analyses indicate mixed results. Barbara Walter (2002) find that negotiated settlements, which include provisions of power sharing in the central government, may serve to reduce the risk of recurring conflict. In contrast, Matthew Hoddie and Caroline Hartzell (2005) do not find political power sharing in peace agreements to significantly affect the duration of peace.
These mixed results suggest a need for a deeper analysis of the logic and consequences of power sharing. Drawing on insights from consociational theory we propose that settlements that include provisions for political power sharing should lead to peace if the parties agree on a political pact and if such promises are implemented. Firstly, such pacts guarantee a share of political power, which can enable the parties in overcoming the uncertainties involved in a peace process. Secondly, implementation of political power sharing allows for protracted negotiations in which the parties settle their main incompatibilities in iterative rounds of cooperation and compromises.
We identify two main limitations in the literature on this topic. The first concerns the definitions used to examine the effect of political power-sharing on durable peace. One possible explanation to the mixed results is that different definitions of political power-sharing are employed. In line with consociational theory, political pacts that guarantee seats in the central government is a central component of political power-sharing (Lijphart 1977; Walter 2002). In other studies, political power-sharing is defined broadly and also includes cases of proportional electoral systems (e.g. Hartzell and Hoddie 2003; Mukherjee 2006). However, when using such a wide definition it is not possible to single out the effect of political pacts on durable peace. Second, previous research only to some extent investigates the implementation of political power sharing. In one of the few studies that do analyze implementation of political pacts, the absence of war is included as an integral part of the definition of implementation (Walter 2002). For this reason, we do not know if the implementation itself has effects on the duration of peace.
To address these limitations, we introduce the IMPACT dataset (Implementation of Pacts). This new dataset not only contains information on whether the agreements entail provisions concerning political, military and territorial pacts, but also unique data on whether and when these pacts have been implemented. This dataset builds on information from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) and includes all 83 peace agreements signed by the government and one or more rebel groups in internal armed conflicts during the period 1989–2004 (UCDP 2006). We include more peace agreements stipulating political pacts than previous research by studying the entire post-Cold War period, examining full-scale civil wars as well as low intensity armed conflicts, and by focusing not only on the agreements signed by all or the main warring parties.
The results of this study challenges conventional wisdom and puts into question the effectiveness of political power sharing as a tool for conflict resolution. The findings indicate that even when using a definition that captures the very essence of power sharing by focusing on guaranteed positions in central government, no significant influence on durable peace is found. Perhaps even more surprising, political pacts that are implemented are not shown to enhance the prospects for lasting peace.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
power sharing, political pacts, peace agreements, democracy
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-21257OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-21257DiVA: diva2:49030
Paper prepared for the 2006 Conference on Globalization and Peacebuilding, arranged by the Swedish Network of Peace, Conflict and Development Research, Uppsala, 6–8 November 2006, and for the 40th Annual Meeting of the Peace Science Society, Columbus, Ohio, 10–12 November 2006.