Penn Press logo
Power-Sharing Executives

Based on interviews with power-sharing executives and external actors in Bosnia, Macedonia, and Northern Ireland, this in-depth study explores the challenges of promoting cooperation and accommodation between elites representing contending groups in deeply divided places.

Power-Sharing Executives
Governing in Bosnia, Macedonia, and Northern Ireland

Joanne McEvoy

2014 | 288 pages | Cloth $79.95
Political Science
View main book page

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Power Sharing, Institutional Design, and External Actors

Chapter 2. The Sunningdale Executive: Lessons from Failed Power Sharing
Chapter 3. The Good Friday Agreement 1998: An Inclusive Coalition
Chapter 4. The 2007-11 Executive: A New Era in Northern Ireland Politics?

Chapter 5. Power-Sharing Stalemate in Post-Dayton Bosnia
Chapter 6. From Dayton to Brussels?

Chapter 7. Macedonia: From Independence to the Ohrid Framework Agreement
Chapter 8. Toward a Binational Macedonia?



Excerpt [uncorrected, not for citation]

Chapter 1
Power Sharing, Institutional Design, and External Actors

In December 2012, Belfast hit the world headlines again, the story far from positive. More than fourteen years after the Good Friday Agreement of April 1998, sectarian politics came to the fore amid loyalist riots lasting several months. Around fifty police offers were injured, several politicians received death threats, and property was damaged across the city. Clashes between loyalists and nationalists took place at sensitive interface areas, and a prison officer was murdered by dissident republicans. The violence was sparked by a vote by Belfast City Council to limit the flying of the Union flag at City Hall to designated days rather than every day of the year. In response to the ongoing protests, political leaders called for calm and sought to bolster the power-sharing executive. First Minister Peter Robinson (Democratic Unionist Party) referred to the "historic decisions" his party had made "to build a shared society in Northern Ireland." deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness (Sinn Féin) urged the parties to work together against "anti-peace process" elements: "We are not going to kowtow or bow the knee to their activities."

The issue of equal treatment of groups' symbols became politically contentious in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2004 following a request from the Chair of the Presidency Sulejman Tihić for the Constitutional Court to review the constitutionality of symbols on the flags of the two entities (the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska). Tihić claimed that the gold lilies on the Federation's coat of arms and flag represented Bosniaks while the red and white squares represented Croats, thereby discriminating against Serbs. He also claimed that Republika Srpska's flag was based on symbols solely from Serb history and that the entity's anthem, "Bože Pravde," discriminated against Bosniaks and Croats as it asked the Lord "to unite the Serb brothers, save the Serb king and the Serb lineage." In March 2006, the Constitutional Court held that Articles 1 and 2 of the Law on the Coat of Arms and Flag of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitutional Law on the Flag, Coat of Arms, and Anthem of the Republika Srpska contravened Article II.4 of the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina in conjunction with the International Convention for Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The Court's ruling upheld the notion that equal rights must be given to the three constituent peoples (Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats) and all other citizens in both entities.

Flags and symbols have also been the source of political tension in Macedonia. The Ohrid Framework Agreement of 2001, which ended the six-month conflict between ethnic Macedonians and ethnic Albanians, stipulated that public authorities should have the right to display emblems representing the majority community in their municipality. Many ethnic Albanians prefer to identify with the Albanian flag—a double-headed black eagle on a red background—while accepting the Macedonian flag as the state flag. In June 2005, a government bill proposed that a community constituting more than half of a municipality's population would have the right to raise its preferred flag alongside the Macedonian state flag. Although some ethnic Albanians protested that they were prevented from flying the Albanian flag in municipalities where they made up less than 50 percent, the government's parliamentary majority ensured the bill was passed, and the opposition boycotted the vote in protest. These three episodes demonstrate how symbols can become highly controversial when groups have opposing identities and nationalist aspirations. In cases of ethnonational conflict, the contending groups' identities are often bound up in symbols representing their respective cultures and traditions. Marc Howard Ross explores "cultural contestation" in deeply divided places where there are "issues of identity, recognition, and inclusion and exclusion that quickly come into play when leaders and groups evoke cultural images that stir up deeply held and clashing feelings." As politics in such contexts is often a zero-sum game, each group feels that the public expression of the other side's symbols is a threat to their own identity.

Symbols representing historical events and other controversial issues, such as flags and language rights, are among the challenges faced by power-sharing executives whereby representatives of the contending groups form a cross-community coalition. In this book, I investigate the successes and challenges of power-sharing executives in three contemporary cases: Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia. Ultimately, I seek to add to the debates on what helps power sharing "work." I proceed from the idea that the institutional rules that govern new political arrangements are central to the realization of democratic stability in postconflict states. But deciding the most appropriate institutions is no easy task. As trust will almost certainly be lacking among the communities previously in conflict, institutional designers face a considerable challenge in creating institutions that will encourage stability and help prevent the new system from collapsing into further violence.

Power sharing is a form of government recommended for deeply divided territories where majoritarianism is not a fair, realistic option to promote peace. It brings together representatives of groups previously in conflict to govern the country together. The country may have been devastated by war or wracked by long-running conflict. Many people may have lost their lives; many more have lost their loved ones, their home, or their job. They may have been intimidated, bereaved, or discriminated against for their identity and emotionally scarred by the damaging effects of conflict. It is hardly surprising, then, that power sharing among communities is not easy. Even in a new political dispensation, with an end to violence and the setting up of new political structures, it would be naïve to expect that government by former foes will be plain sailing. By focusing on three power-sharing cases, I want to show what power sharing is really like and to understand what this practice means for power-sharing theory. I demonstrate that power sharing is a difficult, challenging form of government. But I also have a normative commitment to power sharing. I believe it is a feasible way to govern a postconflict territory with two or more ethnonational groups where majoritarianism is inappropriate. I would happily sit within the camp of "cautious optimism" about the "principal viability of power-sharing institutions." And I view power sharing to be potentially "democracy-enabling" and "conducive to peace-building." There are, of course, a number of ways power sharing can be designed. It is clearly not a monolith. Neither is it a panacea for resolving conflict.

Aims, Methods, and Contribution

My overall aim is to understand power-sharing government in deeply divided places. Understanding political institutions is, of course, "a serious endeavor" that continues to preoccupy scholarship and has important real-world implications. As Elinor Ostrom writes, "The opportunities and constraints individuals face in any particular situation, the information they obtain, the benefits they obtain or are excluded from, and how they reason about the situation are all affected by the rules or absence of rules that structure the situation." Having such an impact on the opportunities and challenges faced by political actors in territories wracked by violent conflict means that institutional rules are crucial for peace and stability. First, I want to explain the institutional design process of cross-community power-sharing executives. As yet, the power-sharing literature does not explore how such systems are formed. Here I respond to the still-relevant call in the academic literature for a greater focus on the "formation and transformation of structures." Questions of institutional formation and change are crucial in postconflict situations because the design process arguably has a bearing on the stability of the new system. Is there a process of institutional design in postconflict societies? Who are the designers and why do they opt for particular arrangements? What is the role of external actors? And why are power-sharing executives revised once created? Second, I seek to uncover which institutional factors are likely to foster elite cooperation within a power-sharing executive. I focus on two potential explanatory factors for cooperation in power-sharing executives: institutional rules and the role of external actors. Regarding institutional rules, I explore institutional choices over executive formation (the use of a sequential portfolio allocation method versus inter-party bargaining) and the impact of group vetoes. As the three cases use different institutional rules, can we say some are more likely to promote interethnic cooperation? And what role do external actors play? In their peace implementation role, do external actors incentivize cooperation among the local elites? Under what conditions are these incentives effective?

The project is a small-N qualitative study comparing the practice of power-sharing executives in Bosnia, Macedonia, and Northern Ireland. The three cases are examples of the general phenomena under investigation—power-sharing executives established after an ethnonational conflict. They are sufficiently similar, with intriguing variation to be analyzed in a comparative framework. Brendan O'Leary has described these three cases as examples of "complex consociation" due to the creation of institutional arrangements to settle a self-determination dispute, the development of a peace process, an additional strategy such as territorial autonomy, and the involvement of international actors in the implementation of the agreement. The self-determination disputes have been between nationalists and unionists in Northern Ireland; between Bosnian Serbs, Bosnian Croats, and Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks); and between ethnic Slav Macedonians and ethnic Albanians. The respective peace processes resulted in the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement of 1998, the Dayton Peace Agreement of 1995 (DPA), and the Ohrid Framework Agreement of 2001. Northern Ireland also had an earlier peace agreement, the Sunningdale communiqué of 1973, which is discussed in Chapter 2.

An important focus of the study is the role of external actors in the formation and operation of power sharing. External actors have been involved in all three cases, seeking to uphold the respective agreements and promote interethnic cooperation. In Northern Ireland, the British and Irish governments contributed an enormous amount of time and energy to secure the agreement in 1998 and to restore power sharing in 2007. A plethora of international organizations has been involved in Bosnia since the outbreak of war in 1992. The institution in charge of facilitating the implementation of the DPA, the Office of the High Representative (OHR), has been heavily involved in the governance of the country. In recent years, the European Union has become the principal actor guiding the country's progress toward EU integration. In Macedonia, the EU and the U.S. were instrumental in bringing about the Ohrid Framework Agreement, and the two actors have since played a significant role in encouraging the implementation of the agreement. In particular, the EU delegation has been a key actor in persuading the parties to agree on policy reform.

Although the three cases are similar for these reasons, we need to try and understand what accounts for their relative stability. Power sharing in Bosnia and Herzegovina has certainly been difficult since the signing of the DPA. Trust among the parties representing the contending groups remains elusive. The state-level Council of Ministers remains weak in contrast to the strength of the two entities. Although the OHR has been working toward closure since 2006, it has been cautious of pulling out too soon and has been frustrated at the slow pace of reform. Yet the reforms required by the EU and the lure of membership are not sufficiently compelling to overcome divisions and political wrangling among the parties. Some politicians prefer to block rather than work the system in a positive manner. The principal problem relates to the parties' ongoing dispute over the future structure of the state: Although Bosnian Serbs want their entity, Republika Srpska (RS), to be the locus of power and control, Bosniaks want to see a centralized unitary state, and Bosnian Croats want to ensure equality for their group while also, at times, calling for their own entity. Unsurprisingly, the lack of consensus on state structures, including power-sharing institutions, has led to a painstakingly slow process of constitutional reform.

In Northern Ireland, the record of cross-community power sharing is more positive. This was not always the case. The first power-sharing executive (1973-74) was hampered by inter- and intraexecutive competition and finally collapsed under the weight of opposition from more extreme forces. Twenty-five years later, the second (more inclusive) power-sharing executive experienced difficulties, largely over paramilitary decommissioning, and was suspended on several occasions by the British government between 1999 and 2002. In 2007 and 2011, the third and fourth power-sharing executives came into being. At the time of writing, the two largest parties—Sinn Féin and the DUP—are willing to work the system. There have, of course, been considerable challenges relating to the devolution of policing and justice and intraexecutive divergence over controversial policy issues. Nevertheless, the assessment of power sharing in Northern Ireland since May 2007 has been a positive one. The governing parties have even sought to export the lessons from the Northern Ireland peace process to groups involved in ethnic conflict elsewhere.

In Macedonia, power sharing has also been relatively successful. Cross-community executive power sharing between the Macedonian and Albanian communities has operated since the country became independent in 1991. In the years since the 2001 conflict, the parties made progress on the implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement (OFA). Yet power sharing was challenged over executive formation procedures in 2006, a series of parliamentary boycotts and stalemate over the name dispute with Greece leading to brakes being set on the country's Euro-Atlantic integration. Although power sharing appears fairly stable in Macedonia as both communities support the political structures in an increasingly binational state, contentious identity politics have served to challenge stability. To sum up, power sharing in Bosnia has been and remains considerably difficult while Northern Ireland and Macedonia deserve a more positive assessment. So why is this so? Can this variation tell us anything more general about cross-community executive power sharing?

Potential methodological criticisms might suggest that a small-N study based on three cases will not be able to tell us much about what causes power-sharing executives to be stable. Some researchers might argue that causal explanations for democratic stability are only possible with a large-N time-series cross-national analysis. Pippa Norris's work provides such an analysis as well as paired qualitative case studies. She concludes that power-sharing institutions improve the chances of democratic governance. Although she argues that small-N case studies are "invaluable" and "allow researchers to develop theories, to derive hypotheses, and to explore causal mechanisms," she suggests that the "method fails to resolve the debate between proponents and critics of power sharing, however, since the danger of potential selection bias means that different cases can be cited on both sides." In another large-N study, Michaela Mattes and Burcu Savun explore civil war recurrence with regard to forty-six civil wars and conclude that political power sharing and third-party guarantees help reduce the likelihood of further conflict.

In comparison with these studies, does my research provide enough cases to explain variation in the operation of power-sharing executives? Arguably, a time-series cross-national analysis would be inappropriate for the objectives of the study. Concepts such as cooperation, accommodation, or jointness are hard to quantify. Moreover, there is a limited number of relevant cases for any investigation of executive power sharing. Although the book focuses on three cases, each includes different experiences in power sharing (Northern Ireland 1974; Northern Ireland 1998; post-DPA Bosnia; pre-Ohrid Macedonia; post-Ohrid Macedonia). These experiments have also experienced institutional change and a variety of institutional rules. And although the three cases are predominantly consociational, there have been some integrative elements (more "moderate," exclusive coalitions and particular institutional rules, e.g., the election of the first minister and deputy first minister in Northern Ireland). Overall, I provide a comprehensive, in-depth, and rich qualitative account of the practice of power-sharing executives. I treat institutional rules and the role of external actors as the principal determining factors for cross-community cooperation in power-sharing government. And the study is not about taking "sides" between advocates and critics of power sharing. As already noted, I proceed from the notion that power sharing is an appropriate form of government for postconflict societies. Moreover, I develop comparative insights for cases where power sharing has witnessed considerable difficulties, namely Lebanon and Cyprus.

The book's findings have implications for power-sharing practice and power-sharing theory. In relation to executive design, I demonstrate that power sharing comes about as the outcome of interaction among a multiplicity of actors. These actors may have similar preferences, or their preferences may be extremely divergent. Yet the accommodation of these preferences (through concessions, side payments, or compromise) can lead to executive power sharing. The process of executive design will likely be influenced by external actors (who may even impose a settlement), the state's historical experience, or the evolution of power-sharing proposals over time. I also show that executive power sharing as stipulated in a peace agreement is not fixed forevermore but has the capacity to change. Changing political circumstances may bring about institutional revision, sometimes in a pragmatic fashion, to allow the continuation of power sharing among the contending groups. Revision of power-sharing rules can also come about through efforts to address shortcomings or dysfunctional rules. Notably, in the context of a fragile postconflict environment, parties opposed to institutional revision may resist such efforts as a threat to group interests. Beyond questions of institutional formation and transformation, the book has implications for ongoing debates on what works in power sharing. Based on rich analysis of the functioning of variable institutional rules, I argue that although interethnic cooperation is far from guaranteed, power sharing can provide political space for moderation via joint decision making. I argue in support of power sharing, with qualifications: Parties in government must have renounced violent means to pursue their political goals, and they must be willing to operate within the political system. I advocate inclusion as a means to provide the opportunity for cooperation and moderation. It can be a mistake to assume that a limiting exclusionary focus on the "moderate middle" will generate cooperation. In relation to executive formation rules, I concur with existing literature that liberal power sharing is preferable to corporate rules that specify positions for certain groups. Though negotiations are appropriate if parties are willing to compromise over who gets what, a sequential portfolio allocation method may be beneficial in relieving parties of difficult negotiations over the distribution of ministerial seats. Regarding veto rules, the findings suggest that less is more: Veto issues should be clearly defined in legislation (limited to identity, education, security, and the budget) and constrained in terms of few veto mechanisms. Finally, I contribute to the power-sharing literature by clarifying the mechanisms by which external actors incentivize domestic elites to agree on and maintain power sharing. The research relies on and adds to work on rationalist mechanisms of socialization whereby the promotion of power sharing by external actors and the adoption of power sharing by the internal contending groups are explained by instrumental/strategic behavior. External actors' strategic behavior is based on positive and negative (even coercive) incentives. These incentives will likely be more effective when they uphold a peace agreement that satisfies groups' preferences on constitutional issues. External incentives can, under certain conditions, lead to internalization and the potential "habitualization" of power sharing as norm-conforming behavior. Yet the strategy of external actors will be less effective when their socialization efforts are inconsistent and coercive or are viewed as threatening to one or more of the contending groups.

Experience of Conflict

All three cases have experienced the destructive consequences of violent conflict, albeit to a different degree in the number of lives lost. The Northern Ireland "Troubles" endured for more than thirty years and claimed more than 3,600 lives in addition to thousands of people injured, bereaved, and intimidated. As a result of the 1992-95 Bosnian war, more than 100,000 people lost their lives and 2.3 million became refugees—more than half of the prewar population of 4.4 million. Macedonia escaped the devastating violence following the collapse of the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s until the outbreak of a six-month period of armed conflict in 2001 that resulted in approximately 130 killed (though each group cites figures higher than the official numbers). In the aftermath of the 2001 conflict, however, tensions continued to run high and the conflict served to aggravate relations between Macedonians and Albanians, which had been historically difficult.

A popular explanation for Bosnia's difficulties, relative to success in Northern Ireland and Macedonia, is that it is hardly surprising that the system is often blocked and that parties do not cooperate, given the impact of the devastating wars from 1992 to 1995. Certainly, the Bosnian wars have had a tremendous impact on the local people as they come to terms with what happened and attempt to move on from this dark period. Positing variation in conflict as the causal explanation for power-sharing stability is, however, too simple. To illustrate how the experience of conflict cannot be seen as a persuasive independent variable, we need to consider the historical experience of conflict in each case. This demonstrates that all three have witnessed considerable conflict during several periods over time.

Northern Ireland

The roots of the Northern Ireland conflict trace back to the Anglo-Norman invasion of 1169. The conquest of Ireland by English monarchs in the sixteenth century led to the Plantation of Ulster in the seventeenth century, which involved the transfer of almost all land from the native Gaelic Irish to Scots and English settlers. In the eighteenth century, a series of rebellions sought Ireland's independence from England. The United Irishmen staged an insurrection across Ireland in 1798, including the Ulster counties of Antrim and Down. Across the country more than 20,000 people were killed, and the rebels were ultimately defeated by the British forces. The 1798 rebellion preceded smaller rebellions in 1803, 1848 and 1867 designed to challenge the union of Ireland and Great Britain.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, sporadic instances of intercommunal violence took place, including the 1864 riots in Belfast. A few decades later, Irish nationalists organized a campaign for self-government. The Home Rule campaign led to (defeated) bills in the UK parliament in 1886 and 1893. Unionists in the north opposed Home Rule and wanted Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom under the Act of Union 1801. The postponement of the Home Rule issue due to the outbreak of World War I and the resistance of Ulster Unionists prompted the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) to organize an insurrection, the 1916 Easter Rising. In response, British troops arrived in Dublin and the rebels surrendered after five days. Although the rising failed militarily, the execution of sixteen of its leaders led to growing public sympathy for the goal of Irish independence. When the Home Rule issue once more dominated the political agenda, the British government sought a compromise in the form of the Government of Ireland Act 1920, creating two new jurisdictions with the respective Dublin and Belfast parliaments. Northern Ireland comprised the six counties of Ulster, excluding Cavan, Donegal, and Monaghan. The birth of the new "statelet" met considerable intercommunal violence. In the first few years, hundreds of people were killed and as many as 23,000 were driven from their homes.


Apart from a brief period of independence in the medieval era, Bosnia has been under the control of several external powers: the Ottomans from 1463, the Hapsburgs from 1878, the Serbs under the first Yugoslavia, the Croatian fascist regime during World War II, and the communists in the second Yugoslavia. Even since independence in 1992, and particularly since the DPA, Bosnia can be regarded as a semi-protectorate of the international community. Although the ethnic groups in Bosnia coexisted peacefully for periods throughout its history, the peace has, at times, been punctuated by violence among the different groups and against the ruling powers. For instance, numerous anti-Ottoman rebellions took place, particularly after the 1860s. A major uprising was organized in 1875 when peasants revolted against taxes imposed on their harvest. The resistance transformed into a movement for liberation and spread across Bosnia, leading to severe retribution by the Ottoman forces with at least 5,000 people killed and possibly as many as 250,000 refugees.

Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia following the 1878 Congress of Berlin. The Hapsburgs' occupation of the country met a determined Muslim resistance, which was eventually crushed after a number of months. The assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo by a Bosnian Serb, Gavrilo Princip, was the infamous event that triggered World War I. During the war, approximately 10,000 Bosnians were killed or wounded and the country reportedly suffered a 2 percent population deficit of 40,000 people between the 1910 and 1921 censuses. During World War II, Bosnia experienced a series of interethnic atrocities. Yugoslavia surrendered to Hitler in April 1941, and Bosnia was absorbed by the fascist government controlled by the Ustaše in Croatia. Two main resistance groups were set up against the German and Italian occupiers and the Ustaše: the Četniks (Serbian guerrilla units) and Tito's multiethnic Partisans. In addition to the antifascist struggle, Bosnia experienced an interethnic war, mainly Serbs fighting against Muslims and Croats. More than a million Yugoslavs died in the war and millions were wounded. Almost half of Yugoslavia's war deaths occurred in Bosnia. In the early period of the postwar regime, as many as a quarter of a million people were killed as Tito sought to remove anti-Partisan forces.


Macedonia has been a site of conflict for centuries. Ruled by the Ottomans for more than 500 years from 1371, it has also been the target of territorial and cultural claims by its larger and stronger neighbors: Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia. By the late nineteenth century, Macedonian Christians aspired to independence from Ottoman rule. The Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) was set up as a resistance movement and launched a series of rebellions. According to Robert D. Kaplan, Macedonia "was to become the original seedground not only of modern warfare and political conflict, but of modern terrorism and clerical fanaticism as well." The Ilinden (St Elijah's Day) Uprising of 1903, which established a short-lived Macedonian republic at Krusevo, holds a special place in Macedonian collective memory. The Turks' retribution for the uprising led to thousands of murdered civilians and rape victims, destroyed villages, and 50,000 refugees.

The Balkan Wars (1912-13) were fought largely for the control of Macedonia when Bulgaria, Serbia, and Greece declared war on the Ottoman Empire. The First Balkan War ended in December 1912; Macedonia had been freed from Ottoman rule but was divided between the victors. As the Greeks and Serbs tried to limit Bulgarian influence, Bulgaria retaliated with an attack on Serbian forces in June 1913, triggering the Second Balkan War. At the end of the war just a few weeks later, Bulgaria was forced to surrender almost all land gained. Serbia received part of Macedonia, which became part of the first Yugoslavia. Two hundred thousand combatants had been killed throughout the region, and Macedonia had witnessed the greatest violence and devastation. As World War I broke out, Bulgaria joined the side of the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary) in an effort to regain Macedonia. From 1916 to 1918, the French, Greeks, Serbs, and British Commonwealth armies fought against the Bulgarians and Hapsburgs in Macedonia. Bulgaria tried again to take the country by siding with the Germans in World War II. When the first Yugoslavia surrendered in 1941, Macedonia was carved up between Bulgaria, Germany, and Italy. The Bulgarian army was then driven out by Serb, Greek, and British forces, and Macedonia became one of six republics in Tito's Federal Yugoslavia.

Designing and Reforming Power-Sharing Executives

One aspect of this study is to analyze the process of institutional design: how power-sharing executives come into being, why they take the shape they do, and how they change over time. Mentioned above, this objective responds to the institutionalist concern to focus on institutional formation and transformation. Pippa Norris suggests we "need to understand how power-sharing constitutions arise and what process of bargaining and pact-making leads to their acceptance and implementation." In keeping with the "new institutionalism" that entered the lexicon of political science in the 1980s, this book's approach argues for a "more general view of the place of institutions in politics and the possibilities for a political theory which is more attentive to them." So an important focus for this book is the formation and change of power-sharing executives. As Paul Pierson notes more generally, "The origins of institutions, as well as the sources of institutional change, remain opaque."

To clarify the origins of power-sharing executives in the three cases, to what extent can we say a process of institutional design existed? Can we say that the power-sharing executives in Bosnia, Macedonia, and Northern Ireland were actually designed? We might argue that executive design in these three cases was simply part of a broader peace settlement to resolve ethnic conflict. This description, however, needs to be qualified. In Macedonia, for example, a tradition of power sharing developed in the initial post-independence period. The OFA did not address executive design because power sharing had become an accepted and expected convention following the end of communist rule; the agreement cemented power sharing by adding features such as the concurrent majority voting procedure in parliament. In Northern Ireland, executive design using the d'Hondt procedure to allocate ministerial seats in a power-sharing government resulted from policy "learning" by parties and the evolution of political initiatives from the 1970s. There was, however, an element of design in relation to the creation of the (joint) posts of first minister and deputy first minister agreed by the two main parties in the 1998 negotiations, the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). The system of power sharing in Bosnia was more certainly "designed" at the Dayton negotiations and imposed by the international community, particularly the U.S. Thus, this book considers the various ways in which power-sharing institutions come to be designed and the interaction among a multiplicity of internal and external actors.

We might say that the Bosnian arrangements were designed at Dayton, that there was an informal process of executive design in Macedonia, and a largely evolutionary process of institutional learning took place in Northern Ireland. Institutional design has been described as both "a process aimed at producing prescriptions" and "a pattern or plan which can be detected, or imagined, in existing institutional structures without any reference to the processes that produced the pattern." Importantly, design requires political actors to determine "how institutions might be, and ought to be, constructed." Yet the wider literature has since questioned the reality of institutional design in postconflict states. Donald Horowitz considers institutional design in deeply divided societies to be an oxymoron. He argues that "constitutions that have been designed, as opposed to merely constructed, are difficult to find." For Horowitz, a multiplicity of actors makes design unlikely: "The sheer proliferation of participants makes it less, rather than more, likely that a design, with its consistent and interlocking parts, will be produced at the outset and adopted at the conclusion." Robert Goodin notes that the "Myth of the Institutional Designer (still less the Myth of the Institutional Design) is greatly to be avoided in theories of institutional design. There are just lots of localized attempts at partial design cutting across one another, and any sensible scheme for institutional design needs to take account of that fact." But it is important to be clear on what we mean by institutional design and to make sense of what a design process might involve in an ethnic conflict.

The creation of institutions in a postconflict situation is usually part of a peace process in which negotiating parties, often under the aegis of a third party, seek to arrive at an agreement. Horowitz is right that the project of institutional design often includes the proliferation of actors. Yet this proliferation does not necessarily mean that institutional design is unlikely. Much depends on the preferences of the internal and external actors involved in the negotiations and the interaction among those preferences. Actors from different parties may hold common positions on the appropriate institutional framework or they may have divergent positions and expectations on the bargaining process and potential outcomes. Both scenarios involve institutional design. Institutional design in postconflict situations is unlikely to be a matter of actors agreeing to a blueprint or a single designer working to a preconceived plan. The outcome is the result of the interaction and ultimately compromise among actors' preferences. It is also important that institutional design can be of an evolutionary nature whereby institutional rules carry over from previous negotiations to form part of a new peace agreement.

Horowitz suggests that institutional designers need to watch out for a number of common difficulties in deeply divided societies. For instance, designers may have imperfect knowledge of the range of potential institutions and a "failure of expertise" may occur as "provision merchants" seek to install their preferred institutions that might not fit the needs of the country. He argues there can be "disjunctions between what severely divided societies require and the methods that are used to decide on the institutions that will govern these societies." It may certainly be the case that actors will not have a thorough grasp of all the potential institutional solutions. Given this lack of knowledge of all possible options, actors may plump for what they are familiar with from the country's history or their neighbors' experience. To Horowitz's argument for consistency and coherence in institutional design (preferably in terms of an incentives-based ideal type, discussed below), Philippe Van Parijs replies that a mélange or hybrid approach may still produce a centripetal outcome. He suggests that what matters is finding a set of institutional rules that together "systematically defuse potential conflict." All of these potential difficulties and challenges lead us to ask, Who are the institutional designers in the study? Do they have choices? Why do they choose a particular executive design?

The institutional designers in the three cases reviewed here are the internal and external political actors who took part in the respective peace processes to reach agreement on political institutions. Yet these actors may have had different purposes and often divergent objectives for the new political system. The internal political parties who represent opposing groups will likely have different positions from one another. If external actors are involved, they may have different preferences from the internal political parties. As noted above, external actors have played an important role in the negotiation and implementation of political institutions in the three cases reviewed here. The U.S. (though joined by representatives of the other Contact Group countries: the UK, France, Germany, and Russia) was the lead author of the DPA. The U.S. and the EU took part in the negotiations at Ohrid, Macedonia in 2001. In Northern Ireland, the British and Irish governments devoted considerable time and effort to the negotiations leading to the 1998 Agreement; the Clinton administration was also influential, not least due to the input of former U.S. Senator George Mitchell.

To explore the process of why and how actors agree to a particular institutional framework, it is helpful to consider the theme of intentionality. Goodin suggests that social change may occur (1) by accident, (2) as the outcome of evolution, or (3) as the product of intentional intervention. For Goodin, intentionality is a key factor in the emergence and change of institutions. He notes that agents, "individually or more often collectively, sometimes find themselves literally asked to decide which sort of social arrangements they would prefer to retain and reproduce." Importantly, this intentionality does not necessarily include the input of designers because institutions may emerge or evolve at their own pace. Goodin contends that "Institutions are often the product of intentional activities gone wrong—unintended byproducts, the products of various intentional actions cutting across one another, misdirected intentions, or just plain mistakes." Thus, institutional design may not necessarily be a clear-cut outcome of actors' intentional interventions.

If we say that institutional design may result from a number of intentional actions or even misdirected intentions, we need to acknowledge the limitations of functional explanations. Jon Elster suggests there are conditions that need to be met in order to say that an institution can be explained by its function for a group. He says a functional explanation "can succeed only if there are reasons for a feedback loop from the consequence to the phenomenon to be explained." Elster brings us back to consider intentionality as a more appropriate mode of explanation in the social sciences. Intentional explanation "involves showing that the actor did what he did for a reason." Pierson also critiques the functional explanation that institution X exists because it serves the function Y. He claims that the "most straightforward version of rational institutional design [that] focuses on the intentional and farsighted choices of purposive, instrumental actors" is simplistic. If it were simply a matter of rational design, "institutional effects should be seen as the intended consequence of their creators' actions—and in that sense as supplying the explanation for why the institution takes the form it does." Pierson advances a number of limitations to the explanation to what he terms "actor-centered functionalism." He suggests that actors may have multiple goals and that institutional functioning cannot be derived easily from the preferences of designers; actors may be instrumental but not farsighted; major institutional effects may be unintended; and broader social change may impact adversely on the fit between actors and institutions.

This theoretical discussion on functional explanations and actors' intentionality is important for understanding why executive design took a particular form in these three cases. We need to remember that actors may find themselves facing their political enemies across a negotiating table, tasked with identifying and agreeing upon an appropriate institutional framework for a postconflict environment. But even though we might say there is a moment of institutional "choice" in the context of peace negotiations, it is important to recall that institutions have the capacity to evolve in their own way over time. We also need to consider the overlapping or diverging preferences of the various actors, as demonstrated by the difficult peace talks in Northern Ireland and the "hothouse" atmosphere at Dayton. Moreover, actors' intentions may lead to unintended consequences that give rise to a need for institutional reform to correct "mistakes" or respond to changes in the wider political landscape. As Pierson writes, "Anyone engaged in empirical research in the social sciences knows that the most instrumental and canny of actors still cannot hope to adequately anticipate all the consequences of their actions. Institutions may not be functional because designers make mistakes." We need to consider whether institutional change has taken place as the outcome of an evolutionary process, the fusion of actor preferences, or the result of broader institutional dynamics.

Institutional change has been a feature of power sharing in all three places. Important changes were made to executive design in Northern Ireland by the St. Andrews Agreement, legislated in the Northern Ireland (St. Andrews Agreement) Act 2006. As the DUP and Sinn Féin were the largest parties of the respective blocs since 2003, inter-party talks focused on how to persuade these two parties to agree to form an executive (including the UUP and the SDLP). Under the executive formation rules in the 1998 Agreement, the DUP was not prepared to vote for a Sinn Féin deputy first minister. Revised rules, therefore, allowed for straightforward nomination rather than election of the top two posts. Second, amendments to the 1998 Act centered on the accountability of individual ministers to the assembly. For the DUP, these changes were an important precondition for reaching agreement. A number of amendments placed provisions in the 1998 Act on a statutory footing and introduced additional measures, including the rule for three ministers to trigger a cross-community vote within the executive on another minister's decision when a vote is required.

In Bosnia, the nature and scope of executive power sharing has evolved since the DPA. First, the state powers have been strengthened following legislation imposed by the OHR that increased the Council of Ministers portfolios from four to eight. Second, a number of revisions were made to the institutional rules for power sharing following the Constitutional Court's decision in 2000 that declared the ethnic predominance of one or two groups in both entities to be unconstitutional. The court ruled that the three "constituent peoples" should have equal rights throughout Bosnia, thus requiring reform of the entity constitutions because Bosnian Serbs were not recognized as such in the Federation, and the RS operated without recognition of Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats. Following the court's decision, the OHR established commissions in the two entities to plan the process of constitutional reform. Though inter-party talks on the issue came close to agreement, a decision was eventually imposed by the OHR in 2002 in the form of amendments to the entity constitutions. In the RS, the president and vice-presidents may not be from the same constituent people, and the executive must include eight Serb, five Bosniak, and three Croat ministers. In the Federation, the constitutional amendment stated that the executive shall be composed of eight Bosniak, five Croat, and three Serb ministers.

Since the tenth anniversary of the DPA, the international community has pushed for constitutional reform in Bosnia. Florian Bieber refers to "two parallel debates on reform, within the international community and policy circles and among politicians and intellectuals within Bosnia and Herzegovina." The international community promotes centralization and the transfer of powers from the entities to the state level. Following much interparty wrangling, the parties negotiated a package of constitutional reform in 2006. Known as the "April package," it failed to pass the state assembly by just two votes. Constitutional reform has remained politically contentious as the parties continue to disagree over what kind of state Bosnia should be. This question is likely to become increasingly important as the country draws closer to fulfilling EU requirements and particularly in relation to the implementation of EU law in the acquis communautaire.

Although power sharing has been an informal tradition in Macedonia since independence in 1991, the Ohrid Agreement cemented the power-sharing system. The agreement did not introduce legislation requiring the two groups to share power, but it provided for minority protection under the locally termed "Badinter principle." Legislation in certain areas requires an overall majority in the assembly and a majority of deputies not in the majority community. The device acts as a mechanism for minority veto. Since the crisis of executive formation in 2006, there has been some discussion on whether the constitution should be reformed to extend the rule to executive formation and approval of the budget.

Power-Sharing Theory

The overarching concern of this book relates to the success of power sharing, a topic that has provoked considerable and, at times, intense debate within the academic literature. For several decades, debate has raged over which political structures provide the most appropriate framework for deeply divided places. Some literature refutes the potential of power sharing as a conflict resolution measure. Donald Horowitz suggests that consociationalism leads to the entrenchment of ethnic divisions and is "inapt to mitigate conflict in severely divided societies." Philip Roeder and Donald Rothchild maintain that power-dividing institutions are more stable than power-sharing institutions in ethnically divided territories. Among exponents of power sharing, an important debate exists on what kind of power sharing should be promoted in such cases. Discussion on the most appropriate institutional design focuses on the accommodation-versus-integration debate. The background and focus of these debates are dealt with comprehensively elsewhere. Nevertheless, we need to consider the normative and prescriptive positions of both approaches relating to executive design.

There are two principal frameworks for designing a new political framework in deeply divided territories after the termination of violent conflict: accommodation and integration. As Sujit Choudhry notes, these two approaches are based on "fundamentally different assumptions over the durability of ethnocultural identities [that] reframe the debate over constitutional design for divided societies." Accommodationists "insist that in certain contexts, national, ethnic, religious and linguistic divisions and identities are resilient, durable and hard, rather than malleable, fluid, soft, or transformable." Integrationists, however, "reject the idea that ethnic difference should necessarily translate into political differences. They argue for the possibility of a common public identity, even in the midst of considerable ethnocultural diversity." In terms of ethnic diversity, integrationists oppose the public institutional recognition of group identities while accommodationists promote and respect multiple public identities.

Consociation (along with centripetalism, multiculturalism, and territorial pluralism) is an accommodationist option for managing divisions in a multiethnic state. Consociation is considered a feasible option based on four elements first proposed by Arend Lijphart: cross-community executive power sharing, minority vetoes, segmental autonomy, and proportionality. Representatives of the main groups cooperate in government while each group has control over its vital interests. Lijphart's classic consociational statement recommends the formation of a "grand coalition" whereby the representatives of the main segments in society should cooperate in government. This maximal degree of inclusivity in consociational executives has been revised by Brendan O'Leary and John McGarry, who argue that consociation need not be all-encompassing. Consociations may be "complete," "concurrent," or "weak" (later revised as "plurality executives"), and what matters is "meaningful cross-community executive power sharing in which each significant segment is represented in government with at least plurality levels of support within its segment." McGarry and O'Leary write that a consociation requires "some cross-community jointness and proportionality." Further distinction can be made between corporate and liberal consociation and between formal and informal power-sharing rules. Executive formation rules may be corporate in that they secure executive positions for the contending groups via predetermined positions according to ascriptive identities such as religion or ethnicity. Alternatively, executive formation rules may be liberal in that positions are accorded to whichever groups are victorious in democratic elections. Bosnia is clearly a case of corporate consociation as positions are assigned to representatives of the three "constituent peoples" and on an entity basis. Northern Ireland has both corporate and liberal power-sharing rules. As set out in the Good Friday Agreement, the positions of first and deputy first minister are assigned to one unionist and one nationalist and are subject to a cross-community vote in the assembly. Discussed in Chapter 4, this rule was amended following the 2006 St. Andrews Agreement. The d'Hondt method is used to assign ten ministerial seats to parties on a proportional basis according to their strength in the assembly. Macedonia is almost wholly liberal, save the Committee on Inter-Community Relations, which stipulates positions among Macedonians, Albanians, and smaller minorities. Northern Ireland and Bosnia are cases of formal power sharing (as set out in the 1998 Northern Ireland Act and the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, respectively), while the Macedonian power-sharing system is more informal, given the tradition of binational coalitions since independence.

A central point of divergence within power-sharing debates relates to who should share power and how inclusive the coalition should be. The centripetalist approach, advocated by Horowitz, recommends an incentives-based electoral system that will promote vote pooling by parties across the ethnic divide. When parties are reliant on votes from other groups, power sharing will be based on multiethnic coalitions of moderate parties. He recommends the Alternative Vote as the most appropriate electoral system for vote pooling and to make moderation rewarding for politicians who are dependent on votes from other groups. Horowitz argues that the electoral system can incentivize politicians to cooperate: "If the goal is to produce a moderate, interethnic center, it is necessary to provide ethnically based parties with electoral incentives to take moderate positions on issues of interethnic relations and to form electoral alliances and governing coalitions with moderate parties of other groups." Yet others argue that centripetalism, in particular the use of the Alternative Vote, is inappropriate in deeply divided places. The approach advocated by Horowitz proposes a coalition of the "moderate middle," which will likely exclude hardliners or those parties perceived to be "extreme." In contrast, consociationalists believe that it may be beneficial to include hardliners, especially when seeking to convince other sections of their group to move away from violence and because participation in government can make radicals less extreme. The institutional choice between an inclusive executive and a "moderate middle" coalition is critiqued by Ian O'Flynn, who argues that inclusion and moderation should be viewed as "mutually reinforcing." Adopting a deliberative democracy approach, O'Flynn calls for a concern for democratic equality rather than stability, the latter being the focus of debates between consociational and incentives-based approaches to power sharing. He counters that there is "no argument to be had" between inclusion and moderation and that the process of executive formation should be constrained to include those elites who indicate their willingness to moderate. I bear these arguments in mind in the case studies to come.

The three cases under investigation here are consociational. Yet an exclusionary, "moderate middle" coalition was formed in Northern Ireland following the Sunningdale communiqué of 1973 that included unionists, nationalists, and the cross-community Alliance Party. Thus, the Sunningdale executive was not as strongly consociational as the coalitions formed in 1999, 2007, and 2011: It was limited to the "centre" parties because antiagreement unionists and republicans were opposed to power sharing. Following the collapse of the Sunningdale executive, a series of political initiatives throughout the remainder of the 1970s until the late 1990s failed to secure agreement between the two communities. The peace process of the 1990s was fully inclusive and led to the creation of a consociational executive, including Sinn Féin and the anti-Agreement DUP, in 1999. Exclusion of republicans from government would arguably have made it impossible for the Sinn Féin leadership to "sell" the Agreement to its members. The executive was subject to a number of stops and starts and was eventually suspended for the fourth and final time in October 2002, precipitating a period of political stalemate until the restoration of an inclusive coalition in 2007.

In Bosnia, the DPA set up a complex system of power sharing at both the state and entity levels on the basis of the three "constituent peoples." Following the 2000 general elections, the international community helped forge a "moderate" executive called the "Alliance for Change" coalition, which governed the Federation and formed the state Council of Ministers. Despite some success in pursuing a reform agenda, the coalition lacked cohesion and ultimately fell apart due to inter-party rivalry ahead of fresh elections. The main three nationalist parties—the (Bosniak) Party of Democratic Action (SDA), the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), and the Serb Democratic Party (SDS)—were the electoral winners in the 2002 general election. Nationalist parties were again successful at the 2006 general election. Following four months of painstaking inter-party negotiations, a seven-party coalition formed with Nikola Špirić (SNSD, Bosnian Serb) as Chairman of the Council of Ministers.

In Macedonia, the Albanian community has participated in government since 1991. What makes the Macedonian model particularly interesting is that there is no legal requirement for power sharing. The ethnic Macedonian and ethnic Albanian parties have, however, formed pre- and post-electoral alliances, and parties and citizens have come to expect the formation of a coalition including representatives of the two main groups. The Albanian party set up by former rebel leader Ali Ahmeti, the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), was a coalition partner of the Social Democratic Alliance of Macedonia (SDSM) from 2002 to 2006. Though the coalition had some success on sensitive issues such as language rights, problems persisted in relation to corruption, slow progress on economic and security sector reforms, and plans to increase the inclusion of Albanians in the public sector. The inclusion of the DUI was arguably significant for promoting stability following the 2001 conflict. Following the 2006 election, the DUI was excluded from government and became an opposition party; the party reacted bitterly at not being in the executive and later boycotted parliament for four months.

The three cases demonstrate the inclusion of "hardliners" in consociation. So long as they abide by the institutional rules, the inclusion of the "extremes"—who may have previously been involved in violence—may be central to the pursuit of stability and prevention of further conflict. Consider the inclusion in government of Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland and the DUI in Macedonia, the parties led by figures who participated in their respective armed struggles. An interesting question is whether the inclusion of such parties is conducive to peace or whether it makes compromise difficult, which might otherwise be forthcoming from more moderate parties. An argument could be made for inclusion on the basis of democratic legitimacy. To promote widespread support for the system, postconflict institutions ought not to exclude parties with sufficient electoral support, even if previously linked to armed groups.

In addition to holding opposing visions of how inclusive a power-sharing executive should be, the literature includes a debate on the nature of ethnicity and whether ethnic groups should be the "building blocks" of power sharing. Accommodationists see ethnicity as durable and must be recognized for reflecting the reality of the situation on the ground as people in deeply divided places continue to identify in ethnic terms. Consociationalists, therefore, argue that it is necessary to work within this reality and recognize groups as the basis of power sharing. They claim that political elites will compromise with representatives of other groups and ethnic divisions may become less salient over time. O'Leary maintains it is perverse to "deny the existence and salience of ethnic identities" and that "the dissolution of (undesirable) collective identities and antagonisms may be likely to occur after a period of consociational governance." Although Horowitz recognizes power sharing among groups, he calls for "majoritarian decisions made by a moderate, interethnic center." Integrationists argue that by treating ethnic groups as the "building blocks" of political arrangements, consociation is, in fact, entrenching ethnic divisions and antagonism. Rupert Taylor's social transformation approach maintains that democracy in postconflict societies should break down ethnic divisions and greater attention should be paid to crosscutting cleavages such as class and the creation of a common identity.

But is it really possible, in the short- to medium-term at least, to move toward a system based on cleavages other than communal divisions? The evidence presented in this book suggests that such a transformation is unlikely to take place any time soon. Though around a third of people surveyed in Northern Ireland describe themselves as neither unionist nor nationalist, it is clear that ethnicity remains politically salient. Indeed, election results demonstrate that the overwhelming majority of the electorate vote for ethnically based parties. In the 2011 Assembly Election, for instance, the four main ethnonational parties won 84.3 percent of the vote. The bicommunal Alliance Party of Northern Ireland received 7.7 percent, albeit an improvement on 5.7 percent in the 2007 elections and 3.7 percent in 2003.

The salience of ethnic groups is all too evident in Bosnia. Since the DPA, voters have predominantly voted for the more nationalist parties. Although some "moderate" parties were successful in the October 2010 elections, the process of executive formation at the state and Federation levels took several months, due to elite intransigence. There is little potential for a move away from a state based on three constituent peoples toward a common identity. Although Bosniak presidency member Haris Silajdžić called for a new constitution based on majority rule with civic rather than ethnic group rights, his community (the largest group in the Federation and the state as a whole) would benefit over the other two groups. Of additional note is that the Council of Europe's Venice Commission pointed to discriminatory provisions in the election of the three-member presidency (one Bosniak and one Bosnian Croat from the Federation and one member from the RS). As the rule excludes "Others" as well as Serbs from the Federation and Bosniaks and Croats from RS from being elected to the presidency, the Commission proposed an indirect election of a single president by the Parliamentary Assembly as preferable to direct elections. The Venice Commission later recognized, however, that a single instead of collective presidency in Bosnia was not yet politically possible.

In Macedonia, voters continue to vote for parties they believe will best represent their group interests. For most of the 1990s, the more moderate ethnic Macedonian and ethnic Albanian parties shared power. After the 1998 elections, however, a governing coalition was formed between the VMRO-DPMNE and the Democratic Party of Albanians, the more nationalist parties. The September 2002 election saw victory for the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia-Liberal Democratic Party coalition (SDSM-LDP) and the ethnic Albanian DUI. The vote for the Social Democrats was reportedly a protest vote by ethnic Macedonians against the VMRO for its handling of ethnic tensions and corruption, and DUI leader Ali Ahmeti has been a key leader for the Albanian community since the 2001 conflict. The 2006 election saw the return to government of the VMRO, who chose the Democratic Party of Albanians as its partner, relegating the DUI (the largest Albanian party) to the opposition. The party reacted by boycotting parliament, leading to negotiations between party leaders Nikola Gruevski and Ali Ahmeti and agreement on further implementation of the OFA. Although the agreement did not institutionalize power sharing to the same extent as the DPA in Bosnia and sought to "enhance the civic nature of the state," it nevertheless "elevates the status of Albanians as a community by affording them rights comparable to those of the Macedonian majority." In an increasingly binational state, therefore, a common Macedonian identity remains remote, and executive design needs to focus on how to incentivize interethnic cooperation among elites who represent the contending groups.

Demonstrating Cooperation

A central question is whether and how power-sharing executives promote interethnic cooperation among ethnic elites. But how do we decide that some arrangements promote cooperation while others do not? Lijphart acknowledges that consociation's "key concepts have been very hard to define and measure precisely." Indeed, scholars have critiqued the "thorny issue of how to measure the degree of elite cooperation," understood as the essence of consociationalism. McGarry and O'Leary write that "what makes consociations feasible and work is joint consent across the significant communities—with the emphasis on 'jointness.'" O'Leary suggests that power sharing means "coordinated jointness in shared decision making." My primary objective is to uncover what factors are likely to produce cooperation, indicated by joint decision making. Interethnic cooperation within a power-sharing executive can be demonstrated with evidence of ministers working together. In the following case study chapters, I track the extent of cooperation evidenced by joint decision making on policy issues, including the implementation of the respective peace agreements. As the start of this chapter shows, the new executive will likely be faced with the challenge of how to manage sensitive issues relating to culture, symbols, and identity. These often ad hoc issues are considered problems of "cultural contestation." And given that the agreements sought to end violence and promised a future peaceful environment, the management of security issues (particularly police reform) is considered a useful indicator of cooperation. Overall, I seek to investigate whether cooperation has been attainable or in short supply.

Executive Formation: Sequential Portfolio Allocation or Negotiation?

Executive formation rules can arguably deliver a process that will help foster improved relationships and cooperation among ethnic parties. These rules vary in terms of whether groups are guaranteed positions in government. Lijphart makes a distinction between predetermination and self-determination. Self-determination "gives various rights to groups within the existing state ... and it allows these groups to manifest themselves instead of deciding in advance on the identity of the groups." Pre-determination "means that the groups that are to share power are identified in advance." Lijphart has a clear preference for self-determination in power sharing for several reasons. Among them, he notes the flexibility of self-determination based on numbers of people identifying with specific groups: "It is naturally and continually self-adjusting." The distinction between predetermination and self-determination corresponds to that made by McGarry and O'Leary between corporate and liberal consociation. They write that a "corporate or predetermined consociation accommodates groups according to ascriptive criteria, such as ethnicity or religion, on the assumption that group identities are fixed and that groups are both internally homogeneous and externally bounded." By contrast, a liberal or self-determined consociation "rewards whatever salient political identities emerge in democratic elections, whether these are based on ethnic or religious groups, or on subgroup or transgroup identities." Notably, the three places under investigation display variation, including a mix of corporate and liberal rules for executive formation. In the first Northern Ireland power-sharing executive (1973-74), three parties agreed to share power and to allocate portfolios via inter-party bargaining, overseen by the British government's Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, William Whitelaw. Based on party strength in the assembly following the 1973 elections, this was clearly a liberal form of consociational power sharing. The second power-sharing administration following the 1998 Agreement established a novel form of government formation. McGarry, O'Leary, and Simeon suggest the peace agreement "combines both corporate and liberal elements" because the first minister and deputy first minister are elected via cross-community support of national and unionist members, while the other ten ministers are selected according to the d'Hondt method "that is liberal or 'difference-blind.' It operates according to the strength of representation won by parties in the Assembly, not their national identity." D'Hondt was used again to form the executives that took office in 2007 and 2011. The Northern Ireland (St. Andrews Agreement) Act 2006 revised the joint election of the two premiers to a straightforward nomination, rather than a cross-community vote. A procedural change meant that the first minister would come from the largest party in the assembly and the deputy first minister would be nominated by the second-largest party. Rick Wilford suggests the change meant that "future assembly elections would become de facto referendums on who would take the role of first minister." The Northern Ireland power-sharing system is largely liberal as executive formation is subject to the parties' respective strengths in the assembly. There are, however, more corporate elements in the assembly voting procedures for key decisions (the "weighted majority" rule and "parallel consent"), which require support from members designated as "nationalist" and "unionist."

Government formation in Bosnia requires the inclusion of representatives from the "constituent peoples." The state three-member, directly elected presidency includes one Bosniak and one Croat from the Federation and one Serb from the RS. The presidency nominates the chair of the council of ministers who, in turn, nominates the ministers and deputy ministers. The chair and ministers are subject to a legitimizing vote in the House of Representatives. Following a landmark decision by the Bosnian constitutional court in July 2000, the constitutions of the two entities were revised to ensure representation of the three "constituent peoples" as well as some potential inclusion from the "others." The Federation's government must include eight Bosniak, five Croat, and three Serb ministers, and the prime minister may appoint an "other" in place of one of the Bosniaks. The president of the Federation (in agreement with the vice-presidents) appoints the government, subject to majority support in the House of Representatives. In the RS, the executive includes eight Serb, five Bosniak, and three Croat ministers, and the prime minister may appoint an "other" in place of one of the Serbs.

The Macedonian model is different again. First, the president tasks the largest party to form a government that will require a majority vote of all representatives, thus ensuring the approval of the Albanian community without an explicit "cross-community" rule. The largest (Macedonian) party then negotiates with Albanian parties and other smaller parties to form a government that will secure a majority vote. Thus, the Macedonian model allows more freedom regarding executive membership, subject to securing majority support in parliament. In contrast to the Bosnian model, government formation is not on the basis of predetermined groups or "constituent people." This is clearly a much more liberal method of executive formation.

But what impact do these various rules have on executive operation, and can we say some rules better promote interethnic accommodation? For instance, what effect does the d'Hondt sequential portfolio allocation method have on power sharing? Is it appropriate to guarantee parties seats based on their electoral strength rather than require a process of inter-party bargaining? Or, as McGarry and O'Leary argue, is d'Hondt an appropriate mechanism for postconflict societies because it is proportional, sequential, nonexclusionary, and incentivizes parties to take their executive seats? Does the Bosnian system of predesignation (strong corporate rules) have an effect on the system? Does it limit the potential of ethnic elites to work together? Conversely, does the more informal, flexible system present in Macedonia based on postelectoral negotiations (without predesignation) produce improved relationships and more frequent government turnover? Or is there a need to formally institutionalize executive power sharing in Macedonia to guarantee proportionate inclusion of the Albanian community and smaller minorities?

Executive Decision Making: Veto Rights

How power-sharing executives make decisions is also pertinent to the potential for interethnic cooperation. Are ministers in a power-sharing executive obliged to ensure consensus within the coalition on policy issues? Must ministers act in concert with their coalition colleagues, or do they have considerable room for maneuver on policy issues? Can a party with a greater number of ministerial portfolios determine the direction of policy and impose decisions? Or can ministers representing minority groups prevent this from happening? What impact do veto rules have on interethnic cooperation?

In Northern Ireland, the GFA encourages consensual decision making within the executive. The executive is charged to "provide a forum for the discussion of, and agreement on, issues which cut across the responsibilities of two or more Ministers, for prioritizing executive and legislative proposals and for recommending a common position where necessary (e.g. in dealing with external relationships)." The executive's responsibilities include agreeing on an annual program and budget, subject to cross-community approval in the Assembly. Under the Pledge of Office in the 1998 Agreement, ministers are charged "to participate with colleagues in the preparation of a programme for government" and "to operate within the framework of that programme when agreed within the Executive Committee and endorsed by the Assembly." As with the other two cases in the study, there are veto procedures that check majoritarian rule in executive decision making. In the assembly, thirty MLAs can petition a decision to be taken on a cross-community vote or refer a ministerial decision back to the executive for review. Within the executive, any three ministers can trigger a vote to be taken on a cross-community basis when a vote is required.

At the state level in Bosnia, the three-member presidency must adopt all decisions by consensus. A member may, however, declare a decision to be harmful to a "vital interest" the entity by which he or she was elected; the decision is then referred to the legislature of that entity. Two-thirds of the relevant grouping in the entity can veto the presidency decision. Legislation imposed by the OHR in December 2002 made important changes to the process of decision making in the Council of Ministers (CoM). The Law stated that legislation to be voted on in parliament will need to first secure majority support within the executive; on all other decisions the CoM needs to secure consensus. If consensus is not reached, the chair of the CoM consults with the dissenting member(s) to resolve the problem. If consensus is still not achieved within seven days, a majority vote is required within the CoM, including support of at least two members of each constituent people. In the Federation, ministers are responsible for "executing Federation Government policies and enforcing Federation Government laws within the scope of his Ministry or assigned by the Prime Minister" and for "proposing and making recommendations concerning legislation within the scope of his Ministry or as assigned by the Prime Minister." In more general terms, the RS constitution charges the government to "direct and coordinate the work of the ministries" and to "supervise the work of the ministries." In both entities there is a parliamentary procedure for the protection of the "vital national interests" of the three constituent peoples. Outside of the issues listed in the entities' respective constitutions, two-thirds of a group's delegates can trigger the veto procedure.

In Macedonia, the constitution charges the government to "lay down principles on the internal organization and work of the Ministries and other administrative bodies, directing and supervising their work." In the assembly, a veto mechanism exists for delegates of communities other than the majority to block decisions. The concurrent majority voting procedure applies to Article 69 of the constitution, which stipulates that with regard to legislation affecting culture, use of language, education, personal identity, and symbols, approval requires a majority of delegates present and voting, including a majority of delegates not from the majority community.

Elsewhere I compare the use of veto powers and ask whether veto rights are an appropriate mechanism for minority group protection or whether they lead to executive gridlock. I suggest a conceptual framework to help institutional designers in power-sharing systems think about veto players, veto points, and veto procedures. I argue that Bosnia has too many veto rules and suggest limiting the areas and procedures in which parties can trigger a veto. Macedonia is considerably more flexible than Bosnia, and Northern Ireland is somewhere in between the two. The Macedonian case confirms the importance of veto rules for the minority community in power-sharing systems. Discussed in Chapter 8, Albanian elites refer to the concurrent majority voting procedure in parliament as a central feature of the peace agreement and rely on its application to constrain the Macedonian party in power.

Although the focus here is on the potential of institutional rules for incentivizing interethnic cooperation, some caution is required. The book does not consider institutional design to be a panacea for interethnic conflict. There are limits to the potential of institutional design to foster interethnic cooperation in deeply divided places. Institutions are not the whole story; context matters, too. There may be considerable obstacles to compromise within the executive arising from the legacy of the conflict, wider political problems (security issues, refugee returns), a sense of suspicion and mistrust, and difficult interpersonal relations. Florian Bieber notes one such obstacle: "The nature of a grand coalition poses a particular challenge that can be met only with difficulty by institutional designers because it requires political actors who are willing to cooperate." Certainly, the presence of political elites "willing" to cooperate is the ideal scenario in a power-sharing executive. The hard reality of the situation, however, is that elites' willingness to cooperate may not be forthcoming.

To the view that the potential of institutional design may be limited I add that the executive is just one (though arguably the central) institution in a set of political institutions. But even when interethnic cooperation is forthcoming within the coalition, it might be hampered by the dysfunctionality of other institutions such as the electoral system, the legislature, and policing structures. And just because some institutional rules work in one situation does not mean they will work in another. I pay due attention to the importance of context and the particular conditions in each case. That said, an emphasis on comparison, rigorous empirical analysis, and contribution to theory will go some way to identifying why power-sharing executives adopt particular rules and the impact of executive design on interethnic cooperation. As Andrew Reynolds notes, "formal rules often provide the main incentives for divided groups to be conciliatory. The behavior of elites is paramount, but without power-sharing structures, accommodatory signals may never be encouraged."

External Actors: Incentivizing Cooperation?

The involvement of international actors in the implementation of peace agreements is an intriguing, and arguably central, aspect of power-sharing democracy. External actors' state-building efforts have involved the implementation of power-sharing settlements in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq, Lebanon, Northern Ireland, and Macedonia and proposals for power sharing in Burundi, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, and Nepal. Rupert Taylor notes that we are embarking on a "new wave" of power-sharing theory. Compared with the classic cases of consociation, power-sharing arrangements have recently formed the basis of institutional arrangements in deeply divided places and have involved external actors in their implementation. Michael Kerr argues that external actors have the "ability to provide the motivation and incentives for internal elites to engage in consociation, to create the conditions for the implementation of power-sharing arrangements, and to engage in coercive consociational state-building itself." Bieber discusses the role of external actors in forming and maintaining power sharing in the states formed following the disintegration of the Yugoslav federation. Assessing their contribution, he suggests that a principal problem of external intervention is the imposition of policy against the wishes of at least one of the contending groups. McGarry et al. note that "the international community, which usually preaches integration, has been prepared to back accommodation where that has been demanded, if only, and unfortunately, after rebellion has threatened order." In the three cases under investigation, external actors have (on the whole) sought to uphold the respective peace deals, encourage peace implementation and wider policy reform, and facilitate interethnic cooperation. Discussed in Chapter 2, however, the British and Irish governments failed to maintain Northern Ireland's 1974 power-sharing executive in the face of considerable pressure. Yet does the involvement of external actors matter for the operation of power-sharing executives? To what extent are they involved in governance? Ultimately, does their involvement help or hinder interethnic cooperation?

I draw from the IR and EU studies literature on compliance, which helps explain the interaction among external actors (more often understood to be international organizations) and internal actors over policy reform. This literature has pitted rationalist against constructivist approaches to compliance. Although the rationalist approach focuses on coercion, cost-benefit calculations, and material incentives, the constructivist approach highlights socialization and social norms. Importantly, there has been some effort to build bridges between these two approaches in order to arrive at a synthetic approach "encompassing both instrumental choice and social learning." Research has focused on socialization, defined as "the process of inducting actors into the norms and rules of a given community." The outcome of socialization is understood to be "sustained compliance based on the internalization of these norms." Thus, socialization implies domestic actors shift from a logic of consequences to a logic of appropriateness. This study seeks to determine whether political parties representing the contending groups in deeply divided places have been subject to socialization efforts on the part of external actors and have internalized power sharing as the most appropriate postconflict institutional arrangement. Suggested mechanisms of socialization include role playing, normative suasion, and strategic calculation. Arguably, strategic calculation is most applicable here, whereby actors "carefully calculate and seek to maximize given interests, adapting their behaviour to the norms and rules favored by the international community." As Frank Schimmelfennig writes, socialization "works through reinforcement." In this way, external actors "reward norm-conforming behavior and punish norm-violating behavior; target states conform with the norms and rules in order to avoid punishment and gain rewards."

In Northern Ireland, the British and Irish governments devoted an enormous amount of time to secure the agreement in April 1998 and to restore power sharing in 2007. The British Secretary of State has played an influential and, at times, controversial role. Successive secretaries of state opted to suspend the institutions under the Suspension Act (2000) in the face of difficulties over IRA decommissioning and inter-party mistrust. The suspension legislation was criticized by the Irish government as well as by the SDLP and Sinn Féin as a breach of the British-Irish treaty. The British and Irish governments were, however, instrumental in pushing the parties toward restored power sharing following suspension in October 2002. At inter-party talks convened in Scotland in 2006, Prime Minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern published the St. Andrews Agreement with a deadline for power sharing of 26 March 2007. To incentivize a deal between Sinn Féin and the DUP, Secretary of State Peter Hain warned of greater cooperation between London and Dublin (the two governments' "Plan B") should the parties fail to agree. Supported by Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern, Hain warned of "devolution or dissolution" of the assembly. The parties ultimately accepted the St. Andrews provisions and agreed to form a power-sharing executive, which took effect from 8 May 2007. The British Secretary of State retained responsibility for policing and justice, with the expectation (as set out in the Act) that the new executive would agree on the transfer of policing and justice by May 2008. This deadline passed, however, as the DUP believed there was insufficient public confidence in Sinn Féin's support for the rule of law. Efforts by the two governments eventually led to agreement on devolution of policing and justice in 2010.

A number of international actors have been involved in Bosnia since the outbreak of war in 1992. The key external body, the OHR, has monitored the implementation of the DPA, encouraged the parties to comply, and facilitated discussions on policy reform. Yet the role of the High Representative (HR) in Bosnia has been likened to that of a "colonial governor." At the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) meeting in Bonn in 1997, the OHR's powers were strengthened to remove from office officials who "violate legal commitments and the Dayton Peace Agreement, and to impose laws if he sees fit should Bosnia and Herzegovina's legislative bodies fail to do so." Some commentators argue that the OHR's frequent use of these powers has harmed the country's transition. The European Stability Initiative argues that because the HR has legislative power to impose decisions, this "has led many international officials to believe that they do not have to do the hard work of identifying and building support for their policy initiatives." Moreover, if domestic actors believe that the HR will impose decisions, they are less incentivized to compromise and implement reform. As outlined in Chapters 5 and 6, successive High Representatives proposed policy reform to improve the functionality of power sharing, a trend that was increasingly opposed by Bosnian Serbs as an infringement on their rights and contravention of the integrity of the RS under the DPA. As the OHR moved toward closure, the EU became the principal external actor in Bosnia, working to ensure the implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement and to facilitate the country's preparedness for accession. Chapter 6 explores the difficulties in the transition from OHR to EU as the principal external actor and explains why EU conditionality has been ineffective in bringing about policy reform.

When violence erupted in Macedonia in February 2001, the international community played a crucial role in preventing conflict from escalating into civil war and in brokering a ceasefire. According to Robert Hislope, "what kept Macedonia from teetering off the edge was the persistent activism from the international community" as the EU, NATO, and the U.S. persuaded both sides to arrive at a settlement. The EU delegation in Macedonia has since sought to ensure the implementation of the Ohrid Agreement. At times of political stalemate, the EU has sought to persuade the parties to cooperate in the interests of the accession process. For instance, difficulties arose in the aftermath of the 2006 parliamentary election when the largest ethnic Macedonian party, VMRO-DPMNE, opted to form a coalition with the ethnic Albanian party, the Democratic Party of Albanians, even though the DUI had won a majority of that community's support. Relegated to the opposition, the DUI later boycotted parliament in protest. The EU and the U.S. were instrumental in persuading the parties to negotiate, leading to the "May Agreement" in 2007, when the VMRO and DUI party leaders agreed on further implementation of the Ohrid Agreement.

These external actors are often criticized by domestic elites for their lack of accountability. The OHR in Bosnia is an essentially undemocratic institution; the Peace Implementation Council selects the office holder, who is unaccountable to the electorate. In Northern Ireland, nationalists and republicans criticized the Secretary of State for suspending the institutions, and his office retained responsibility for policing and justice until 2010. Republicans viewed suspension as an attempt to "save" Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble, who faced increasing dissent within his own party over the implementation of the GFA and the slow decommissioning of paramilitary weapons. Historically, republicans viewed the British government as a cause of the conflict and pro-unionist; however, Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness admitted that the peace process would have collapsed without the contribution of Blair and Ahern.

Power sharing in deeply divided places wracked by violent conflict is a difficult undertaking. Debates continue on whether power sharing is an appropriate institutional option for promoting peace and democracy. This book advances reasons for an optimistic outlook without denying the challenges. Moreover, it is reasonable to expect that power sharing will be a likely option considered by policymakers engaged in peace mediation and postconflict statebuilding. It is intended that the book's reflections on the three places under investigation, through rich description and explanation of power-sharing practice, will provide useful insights for such endeavors.

Penn Press | Site Use and Privacy Policy
Report Accessibility Issues and Get Help | University of Pennsylvania
Copyright © 2021 University of Pennsylvania Press | All rights reserved