In order to prevent the occurrence or recurrence of armed conflict in societies at risk, a common recommendation is that all parties to previous conflict and any potential spoilers be included in power-sharing arrangements. These include grand coalitions, mutual veto provisions, and allocations of government positions and benefits, which give all relevant parties a share of the political pie. Such institutions are prescribed as a means of reducing the risk of conflict by moving from a winner-take-all (or loser takes nothing) environment and replaces it with a principle of sharing. Yet, power-sharing arrangements often consist of a bundle of institutional mechanisms, each of which may have distinctive and not always desirable effects, and some of which may work at cross-purposes.
This project focuses on the potential incompatibility between power-sharing institutions and democracy. To incorporate potential spoilers into a peaceful system of governance, a power-sharing arrangement often guarantees these gr oups power, regardless of the election outcome. However, a core aspect of democracy is that power is always contested, temporary and uncertain. Research in this field has pointed out that partial democratization is detrimental to long-term peace (c.f. Heg re et al. 2001), and this raises a question regarding the long-term effect of power-sharing institutions (see also Jarstad 2008: 106f).