Powe sharing is one of the most important function in a democracy that keeps it alive. It fulfils demands and aspirations of local communities thereby paving the way for gaining confidence and trust in the politics of the country.

Power can be shared not only among different level of governments that is among union government, state governments and local government but also among different organs of government that is among the legislature, executive and judiciary.

Let us understand the power-sharing between the different stages or levels of government and their implications with the help of examples below.

Belgium

59 per cent lives in the Flemish region and speaks Dutch language. Another 40 per cent people live in the Wallonia region and speak French. Remaining one per cent of the Belgians speak German. In the capital city Brussels, 80 per cent people speak French while 20 per cent are Dutchspeaking.

They recognised the existence of regional differences and cultural
diversities. They amended their constitution four times so as to work out an arrangement that would enable everyone to live together within the same country. The arrangement they worked out is different from any other country and is very innovative. These are as follow

Number of Dutch and French-speaking ministers shall be equal in the central government.

The state governments are not subordinate to the Central Government.

Brussels has a separate government in which both the communities have equal representation.

‘community government’ is elected by people belonging to one language community – Dutch, French and German-speaking.

Sri Lanka

The major social groups are the Sinhala-speakers (74 per cent) and the Tamil-speakers (18 per cent). ‘Sri Lankan Tamils’ (13 per cent) and ‘Indian Tamil’. About 7 per cent Christians, who are both Tamil and Sinhala.

The leaders of the Sinhala community sought to secure
dominance over the government by virtue of their majority.

An Act was passed to recognise Sinhala as the only official
language, thus disregarding Tamil. The governments followed preferential
policies that favoured Sinhala applicants for university positions and
government jobs. A new constitution stipulated that the state shall protect
and foster Buddhism.

The Sri Lankan Tamils launched parties and struggles for the recognition of Tamil as an official language, for regional autonomy and equality of
opportunity in securing education and jobs. But their demands were repeatedly denied. several political organisations were formed demanding an independent Tamil Eelam (state) in northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka.

It soon turned into a CIVIL WAR. As a result, thousands of people of both
the communities have been killed. Many families were forced to leave the country as refugees and many more lost their livelihoods

Why power sharing is desirable?

It helps to reduce the possibility of conflict between social groups thus retain the unity of nation.

Power sharing is the very spirit of democracy.

Recognises the diversity within a nation and yet maintains the unity of the country.

Lebanon (Beirut) – the country’s President must belong to the Maronite sect of Catholic Christians. The Prime Minister must be from the Sunni Muslim community. The post of Deputy Prime Minister is fixed for Orthodox Christian sect and that of the Speaker for Shi’a Muslims.

Forms of power-sharing

Power is shared among different organs of government.

Power can be shared among governments at different levels (federal division of power).

Power may also be shared among different social groups. E.g-‘Community government’ in Belgium.

Power-sharing arrangements can also be seen in the way political parties, pressure groups and movements control or influence those in power.

Categories: General

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