Power sharing: Power sharing is the distribution of power among the organs of the government like–legislature, executive and judiciary. It is an intelligent step to ensure the stability of political order. Besides, power sharing it also includes sharing at the different levels like union, state and local.
Fig. Sharing of power in IndiaEthnic: A social division based on shared culture. Mostly people belonging to the same ethnic group believe in their common descent because they have similarities of physical type or culture or both. They may not have the same religion or nationality, e.g, French speaking, Dutch speaking, Sinhala speaking, etc.
Majoritarian: A concept which signifies a belief that the majority community should be able to rule a country in whatever way it wants is known as Majoritarian. In this type of rule they disregard the wishes and needs of the minority.
Community Government: A type of Government which is elected by people belonging to one language community is called community government. For example, Dutch, French and German speaking people form their respective community government, no matter where they live. This is a very specific type of government in Belgium.
Civil War: A violent conflict between opposing groups within a country is known as civil war. Sometimes it becomes so intense that it appears like a war.
Prudential: It is a set of reasons which favors power sharing. It is based on prudence, or on careful calculation of gains and losses. Prudential reasons stress beneficial consequences.
Checks and Balances: A system in which each organ of the government checks the others which results in a balance of power among various institutions. It ensures that none of the organs can exercise unlimited power.
Vertical Division of Power: It is a type of distribution of power which involves the higher and lower levels of government such as central, provincial and regional levels.
Fig. Vertical division of power
Reserved Constituencies: It is a system in which constituencies are reserved in the Assemblies and the Parliament for minorities in order to give them a fair share in power.
Coalition Government: When the alliance of two or more parties gets elected and forms a government it is known as the Coalition Government. This is another form of power sharing.
Q.1. How did the Sri Lankan and the Belgium governments try to solve the ethnic problem?
Ans. The Belgium leaders tried to solve the ethnic problem by respecting the feelings and interests of different communities and regions, whereas the Sri Lanka Government tried to solve the problem through majoritarianism. The Belgium solution helped in avoiding civic strife, whereas the majoritarianism in Sri Lanka led to the civil war.
Q.2. Explain the prudential reasons for Power sharing.
Ans. Power sharing is desirable because it helps to reduce the possibility of conflict between the various social groups. Since social conflict often leads to violence and political instability, power sharing is a good way to ensure political stability.
Imposing the will of the majority community over the minority 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.
Q.3. Explain the moral reason for power sharing.
Ans. Power sharing is the basic spirit of democratic. A democratic rule involves sharing of power with those affected by its exercise, and who have to live with its effects.
The basic principles of power sharing include:
(i) Government of different political parties, i.e., a coalition government.
(ii) Protection of minority rights.
(iii) Decentralization of power.
Q.4. What is power sharing?
Ans. Power sharing is a strategy under which all the major segments of the society are provided with a permanent share of power in the governance of the country.
It is a potential tool for solving disputes in the society divided by deep ethnic, cultural or racial differences by giving the parties involved, a wide range of power sharing to ameliorate the tensions through consensus-oriented governance.
It involves a wide array of political arrangements– usually embodied in constitutional terms– in which the principal elements of society are guaranteed a place and influence, in governance. It relies on joint exercise of power where all principal groups are given a permanent share in the governance.
Q.5. Mention the steps taken by the Sri Lankan government to achieve majoritarianism.
(i) In 1956, an Act was passed under which English was replaced as the country’s official language not by Sinhala and Tamil but by Sinhala only.
(ii) The governments followed preferential policies that favored Sinhala applicants for university positions and government jobs.
(iii) A new constitution was stipulated that the state shall protect and foster Buddhism.
(iv) Denial of citizenship to estate Tamils.
Q.6. Why is power sharing desirable?
(i) To avoid conflict: It reduces the possibility of conflict between the various social groups. Since social conflict often leads to violence and political instability, power sharing is a good way to ensure political stability.
Imposing the will of majority community over the minority may look like an attractive option in the short run, but in long run, it undermines the unity of the nation. Tyranny of the majority is not just oppressive for the minority, if often brings ruin to the majority as well.
(ii) Spirit of democracy: Power sharing is the basic spirit of democracy. A democratic rule involves the sharing of power with those affected by its exercise, and those who have to live with its effects. A democratic government is chosen by the people. So they are to be governed. A legitimate government is one where groups, through participation acquire a stake in the system.
Q.7. Explain the difference between horizontal and vertical power sharing.
1. Horizontal Power sharing
Fig. Vertical power sharing(i) Under the horizontal power sharing, power is shared among different organs of government such as the legislature, executive and judiciary.
(ii) Under horizontal distribution of power, organs of the government are placed at the same level to exercise different powers.
(iii) Under horizontal power sharing, each organ checks the other.
2. Vertical Power sharing
Fig. Vertical power sharing(i) Under the vertical sharing power, power is shared among the different levels of the governments.
(ii) The vertical division of power involves the highest and the lower levels of government.
(iii) Under vertical power sharing the lower organs work under the higher organs.
Q.8. Explain the power sharing arrangements among the political parties and pressure groups.
Ans. In a democracy, power is also shared among different political parties, pressure groups and movements.
Democracy provides the citizens a choice to choose their rulers. This choice is provided by the various political parties, who contest elections to win them. Such competition ensures that power does not remain in one hand.
In the long run, power is shared among the different political parties that represent different ideologies and social groups. Sometimes, this kind of sharing can be direct, when two or more parties form an alliance to contest elections. If their alliance is elected, they form a coalition government and thus share power.
In a democracy, various pressure groups and movements also remain active. They also have a share in governmental power, either through participation in governmental committees or having influence on the decision making process.
Q.9. How is a federal government better than a unitary government? Explain with examples of Belgium and Sri Lanka.
Ans. Federalism is a system of government under which power is divided between central authority and its various constituents units. The Belgium leaders tried to solve the ethnic problem by respecting communities and regions by establishing a federal government, whereas Sri Lankan government tried to solve the problem through majoritarianism.
The Belgium solution helped in avoiding the civic strife, whereas the majoritarianism in Sri Lanka led to the civil war.