- Power-sharing MEANS the sharing or division of power.
- IN POWER SHARING POWER can be SHARED between governments, various political parties, INSTITUTIONS, and various sections of society.
FORMS OF POWER-SHARING–
- Power is shared among different organs of government, such as the legislature, executive, and judiciary.
- Power can be shared among different levels OF GOVERNMENT– a general government for the entire country and governments at the provincial or regional level. Such STATE GOVERNMENT.
- general government for the entire country is usually called the federal government.
- Power may also be shared among different social groups, such as the religious and linguistic groups. ‘Community government’ in Belgium is a good example of this arrangement.
- Power-sharing arrangements can also be seen in the way political parties, pressure groups, and movements control or influence those in power.
PROBLEM OF BELGIUM-
- Belgium is a small country in Europe.
- Smaller in area than the state of Haryana.
- It has borders with the Netherlands, France, and Germany.
- It has a population of a little over one crore, about half the population of Haryana.
- The ETHNIC composition of this small country is very complex.
the country’s total population
- 59 % live in the Flemish region and speak the Dutch language.
- 40 % of people live in the Wallonia region and speak French.
- 1 % of the Belgians speak German.
In the capital city Brussels,
- 80 % of people speak French while
- 20 % are Dutch-speaking.
- The minority French-speaking community was relatively rich and powerful. This was resented by the Dutch-speaking community who got the benefit of economic development and education much later.
- This led to tensions between the Dutch-speaking and French-speaking communities during the 1950s and 1960s.
- The tension between the two communities was more acute in Brussels.
- Brussels presented a special problem: the Dutch-speaking people constituted a majority in the country, but a minority in the capital.
ACCOMMODATION IN BELGIUM-
- The Belgian leaders took a different path TO SOUGHT OUT THIS PROBLEM.
- They recognised the existence of regional differences and cultural diversities.
- they amended their constitution four times BETWEEN 1970 AND 1993,
- This arrangement would enable everyone to live together within the same country.
- ACCORDING TO THE Constitution the number of Dutch and French-speaking ministers shall be equal in the central government.
- IN THIS WAY no single community can make decisions unilaterally.
- Many powers of the central government have been given to state governments of the two regions of the country.
- The state governments are not subordinate to the Central Government.
- Brussels has a separate government in which both the communities have equal representation.
- The French-speaking people accepted equal representation in Brussels.
- the Dutch-speaking community has accepted equal representation in the Central Government.
- Apart from the Central and the State GovernmentS, there is a third kind of government KNOWN AS ThE ‘community government’.
- COMMUNITY GOVERNMENT is elected by people belonging to DUTCH, FRENCH, AND GERMAN-SPEAKING communities.
- This government has the power regarding cultural, educational, and language-related issues. NO MATTER WHERE THEY LIVE.
PROBLEM IN SRI LANKA–
- Sri Lanka is an island nation, just a few kilometers AWAY FROM the southern coast of Tamil Nadu.
- It has A POPULATION OF about 2 crore people, about the same as Haryana.
- Like other South Asian COUNTRIES, Sri Lanka ALSO has a diverse population.
- The major social groups IN SRI LANKA are-
- the Sinhala speakers 74 %
- the Tamil speakers 18 %.
- Among Tamils, there are two subgroups.
- Tamil natives of the country are called ‘Sri Lankan Tamils’ (13 %).
- OTHERS, whose forefathers came from India as plantation workers during the colonial period, are called ‘Indian Tamils’.
- Sri Lankan Tamils are concentrated in the north and east of the country.
- Most of the Sinhala-speaking people are Buddhist,
- while most of the Tamils are Hindus or Muslims.
- There are about 7 % of Christians, who are both Tamil and Sinhala.
MAJORITARIANISM IN SRI LANKA–
- Sri Lanka BECAME an independent country in 1948.
- The leaders of the Sinhala community sought to secure dominance over the government by virtue of their majority.
- the democratically elected government adopted a series of MAJORITARIAN measures to establish Sinhala supremacy.
MAJORITARIANISM STEPS IN SRI LANKA–
- In 1956, an Act was passed to recognise Sinhala as the only official language.
- The governments followed preferential policies that favored Sinhala applicants for university and government jobs.
- A new constitution stipulated that the state shall protect and foster Buddhism.
EFFECTS ON INDIAN TAMILS-
- All these government measures gradually increased the feeling of alienation among the Sri Lankan Tamils.
- They felt that none of the major political parties led by the Buddhist Sinhala leaders were sensitive to their language and culture.
- the constitution and government policies denied them equal political rights.
- THEY discriminated against them in getting jobs and other opportunities and ignored their interests.
- As a result, the relations between the Sinhala and Tamil communities WORSHNED over time.
RESULT OF MAJORITARIANISM IN SRI LANKA-
- The Sri Lankan Tamils launched parties and struggled for the recognition of Tamil as an official language,
- THEY demand regional autonomy and equality of opportunity in securing education and jobs.
- their demand for more autonomy in provinces populated by the Tamils was repeatedly denied.
- By the 1980s several political organisations were formed demanding an independent Tamil Eelam (state) in northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka.
- The distrust between the two communities turned into widespread conflict. It soon turned into a CIVIL WAR.
- As a result, thousands of people from both 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–
- power-sharing is good because it helps to reduce the possibility of conflict between social groups.
- social conflict often leads to violence and political instability.
- power-sharing is a good way to ensure the stability of political order.
- Imposing the will of the majority community over others may look like an attractive option in the short run.
- but in the long run, it undermines the unity of the nation.
- Tyranny of the majority is not just oppressive for the minority; it often brings ruin to the majority as well.
- Power-sharing is the very spirit of democracy.
- A democratic rule involves sharing power with those affected by its exercise, and who have to live with its effects.