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Making Democracy Work In Divided Societies: How Institutional Design Can Be

Helpful In Afghanistan
Afghanistan as a war-torn and a divided society has been consistently facing the
challenge of creating a stable, all-inclusive and democratically based government to be
viewed as legitimate among all ethnic, social, and religious groups. The salience of
ethnicity constitutes the main cause for such problem. During the course of history,
Afghanistan has been challenged with ethnic fragmentation and its impact on politics,
culture and society. However, both the empirical and theoretical literatures confirm that
the role of institutional design is determining in resolving ethnic fragmentation and leads
a divided society towards democratic development.
Accordingly, this dissertation will focus on institutional design and ethnic fragmentation
as they relate to state building and democratic development in divided societies. This
dissertation assumes that the way institutions are designed in multi-ethnic societies can
help to both ethnic conflict management and democratic development. In this regard, the
former Afghan regimes—specifically the current one—will be examined and used as case
studies. The examination will determine how the designed institutions in each regime
attempted to overcome the ethnic cleavages within the society during the process of state
building and see how the former regimes influenced the subsequent regimes in terms of
institutional design. The findings of this examination—either success or failure—will
teach the other states that face the same challenge in the region. As well as, it will
contribute to the literature of comparative constitutional design in divided societies.

Accordingly. and finally. the history has shown that it is highly unlikely the . ethnicity. which accordingly brought them into direct conflict with their constituent and the Afghan society as a whole. since the creation of the modern Afghan State. the current presidential system. None of these regimes could deal with the challenge of building a stable democracy because they instituted and enforced policies and institutions that were counter to the populace ethnic. Afghanistan has experienced different forms of regimes: starting with a traditional monarchy. all-inclusive. followed by a parliamentary system. Afghanistan has been consistently endeavoring to establish a stable. This challenge has been the result of historical differences among the ethnic groups that have been the source of instability and conflict now for more than hundred years. then a constitutional monarchy. By divided society. With that. this dissertation means: a society in which the ethnicity or other social cleavages are politically salient—that is. and tribal beliefs. Afghanistan’s history and the performance of its former regimes prove this fact. they are persistent markers of political identity and bases for political mobilization. and democratically based government during the last one hundred years. Afghanistan is an ethnically divided society in which there are diverse ethnicities that are politically mobilized and base their political loyalty primarily on ethnic relations. Most of the former regimes came to power representing particular tribal affiliation. religious.Introduction: Afghanistan is a war-torn and a divided society that has been involved in conflict for more than one hundred years. and Islamic rhetoric. the Pashtun tribal confederation has ruled the nation. During this period. For instance. continuing with an attempt at a socialist form of government. then even with the extreme form of Islamist regime under the Mujahidin and the Taliban.

if not impossible. this dissertation argues that the current situation of Afghanistan suggests the highest level of ethnic mobilization that excluding the other ethnicity from power would be difficult. To this end. and help for the durability of the government in Afghanistan—requires the appropriate institutional design so that the needs of the society are met. and a level of civil and political rights sufficient to ensure the integrity of political competition and participation. This has created serious anti-Pashtun sentiment among other ethnicities. Purpose: This dissertation will examine how Afghanistan as an ethnically divided society has attempted to create a stable. Current and accepted definition of democracy provides: democracy is a system of government with three conditions: meaningful competition for political power amongst individuals and organized groups. this model of democracy is difficult. if not impossible. including the Tajiks. in societies divided along deep social cleavages such as . However. and Hazaras to participate in the government. However. and democratically based government. The very last contentious presidential elections and its consequent result—the formation of the National Unity Government—sufficiently support this argument. Accordingly. inclusive participation in the selection of leaders and policies. all-inclusive. gain political power.Pashtuns would allow a non-Pashtun to rule them for an extended period of time. the creation of a truly democratic and inclusive state—in order primarily to allow other ethnic groups. it will try to answer the question of to what extent the choice of institutions have been effective in leading a divided society like Afghanistan towards a successful formation of a cohesive government and creating the conditions for democratic development. Uzbeks.

let alone a functioning central government that is considered legitimate among the general population. The very. if not the most. Accordingly. These regimes’ failure to be durable and stable closely relates to the way the institutions— whether presidential. The main argument of this dissertation is that it is extremely difficult for a divided society like Afghanistan to establish a stable. determining method in dealing with this challenge is the way the institutions are designed to meet the Afghan society’s needs. it is difficult to persuade different ethnicities to cease their interest in political power to one ethnicity or political party. In this dissertation. Main Question and Argument: During the last one hundred years of its history. or coalition government—have been designed. the former Afghan regimes will be examined in order to conduct a broad analysis over the institutions that were designed. The . Finally.ethnicity. A direct conflict occurred when the central government enforced exclusive institutions representing only one ethnicity and excluding the other ethnic groups who have been consistently endeavoring to gain political power during the course of history. ethnic and tribal values and hierarchies. and democratically based government. parliamentary. Afghanistan’s lack of established democratic institutions and basic democratic institutions lessens the chances of forming and maintaining a democracy. Asia. the findings of this dissertation of Afghanistan’s experience will inform the other states in the region that face the same challenges. semi-presidential. There are currently numerous examples of such challenging phenomenon in Africa. Afghanistan has experienced different forms of regimes. either inclusive or exclusive. and the Balkans. which have rarely transitioned peacefully from one to another. all-inclusive. where its people still base their loyalties on traditional.

He was of such an exclusive attitude that did not want non-Pashtun be involved in the government. But these also proved not successful enough with the very last presidential elections in Afghanistan. and finally. With these regimes. this dissertation will do a comparison over a wide range of institutions in the former regimes that will accordingly prove the fact that the way institutions are designed can make a difference. followed by a parliamentary system. during his premiership took. 2) this research project addresses one of the most important challenges Afghanistan has been involved with for more than one .history shows that the rulers or their designing advisors have rarely intended to have inclusive tendency in terms of constitutional/institutional design. The existing literature has extensively dealt with the problem of ethnic division and institutional in other countries while the comparative constitutional design scholars have rarely examined Afghanistan. Importance of this research project: This research project is important based on several reasons: 1) it is pure and original as the literature of comparative constitutional design lacks such a research on Afghanistan. These regimes represent different forms. King Zahir’s uncle. I can point out to the exclusive measures that Hashim Khan. then a constitutional monarchy. For instance. the current presidential system. starting with a traditional monarchy. my research project will contribute to the literature of comparative constitutional design. then even with the extreme form of Islamist regime under the Mujahidin and the Taliban. the current constitution took a great step toward inclusiveness with allowing the presidential candidate to have two deputies. continuing with an attempt at a socialist form of government. This way. or recognizing all nationalities under its article 4. For instance.

I can find authentic information regarding the tendencies of the designers of the institutions through interview. As most of the people involved in 2004 constitution making process are available. and 3) the findings of this project will equally inform other countries in the region with the same problem. This has been the dominant view till the beginning of the twentieth century. Literature Review: In view of great scholars.hundred years. this dissertation starts with the period of Amanullah Khan. there is the possibility of finding sufficient materials in order to discuss the designers’ view and understanding of the designed institutions. comparative constitutional law and comparative political sciences scholars have come to the understanding that it would be . For this purpose. this dissertation will be based on qualitative approach. I will need to extensively review the literature over constitutional/institutional design in divided societies. my resource with regard to the former regimes will be limited to the existing literature in Afghanistan or abroad. and ends with the post 2014 elections—the national unity government. In this regard. Research Methodology: This dissertation will study the previous Afghan regimes (1919-2015) and determine the way in which each tried to deal with the challenge of ethnic conflict/division through institutional design. This will accordingly constitute my field research. democracy is next to impossible in societies where more than one ethnicity exists. such as. With that. Accordingly. regarding the former regimes. For the post 2001. there are not extensive materials regarding constitutional/institutional design debates in Afghanistan—in particular. Since then. John Stuart Mill.

                                                                                                                1 Arend Lijphart. CONFLICT MANAGEMENT. in POLITICAL COOPERATION IN DIVIDED SOCIETIES 166 (Desmond Rea ed. Press 1991). Legal Studies Research Series. 3 Benjamin Reilly. To this end. The Perils of Presidentialism. No 09-01. THE ARCHITECTURE OF DEMOCRACY: CONSTITUTOINAL DESIGN. AREND LIJPHART. CONFLICT MANAGEMENT. Donald L. Scholars such as Arend Lijphart. Linz. 2002) 10 Sujit Choundry. There is now extensive literature over how to design institutions in ethnically divided societies so that a stable democracy is achieved.possible to bring democracy in divided societies—where the ethnicity or other type of cleavages have become politically salient and mobilized. THINKING ABOUT DEMOCRACY: POWER SHARING AND MAJORITY RULE IN THEORY AND PRACTICE (2008) 2 DONALD L.8 Tom Ginsburg.7 Martin Seymour Lipset.9 and Sujit Choudry10 have proposed ways in which institutional design can help make democracy work in divided society.4 Pippa Norris. DEMOCRACY IN DIVIDED SOCIETIES: ELECTOAL ENGINEERING FOR CONFLICT MANAGEMENT (2004) 5 DRIVING DEMOCRACY: DO POWER-SHARING INSTITUTIONS WORK?. (2002) 4 BENJAMIN REILLY. Constitutional Design: Proposals Vs Processes. they considered institutional design—designing institutions in a way that gives every section of the divided society a sense of ownership and includes them in policy making—as one of the most appropriate means to achieve that goal. (2008) 6 POWER SHARING: NEW CHALLENGES FOR DIVIDED SOCIETIES. The Model and its Applications in Divided Societies. Consociation. AND DEMOCRACY 3 ANDREW REYNOLD.” American Political Science Review (1959) 9 TOM GINSBURG.6 Juan Linz.5 Ian O’flynn. in THE ARCHITECTURE OF DEMOCRACY: CONSTITUTIONAL DESIGN. A DEMOCRATIC SOUTH AFRICA: CONSTITUTIONAL ENGINEERING INADIVIDED SOCIETYI (Univ. AND DEMOCRACY. Gill and Macmillan 1983). Cal. (2005) 7 Juan J. University of Toronto Faculty of Law . Horowitz.. 1 Donald Horowitz. “Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy. (ed. HOROWITZ.. 2 Andrew Reynold. 1 Journal of Democracy (1990) 8 Seymour Martin Lipset. Bridging Comparative Politics and Comparative Constitutional Law: Constitutional Design in Divided Societies. COMPARATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL DESIGN.

For instance. because they can rest secure that their fundamental interests will be protected. Additionally. He argues that power sharing institutional design greatly help for the durability and stability of democracy in divided society as each group will have their share in power. The possibility of sharing power gives all parties a stake in the survival of the constitutional system. in contrast to a situation where minorities are perpetual outsiders. proportional representation system of voting for elections. The fragmentation of political representation through proportional representation allows for legislative representation of territorially dispersed minorities who may be outvoted under FPTP in single member districts. he provides that Consociational democracy is designed to work differently than a majoritarian democracy in a divided society. Arend Lijphart proposes that for a divided society where there are different ethnic group with different levels of support. veto power for minority groups. The fragmented nature of the legislature creates incentives for political leaders to cooperate across ethnic lines. In this regard. Similarly. In his work—Democracy in Plural Societies—he has extensively reflected on his proposal and has used Netherland. Leaders of ethnic minorities can leverage their legislative power to secure executive power sharing. Switzerland. segmental autonomy. .These scholars unanimously provide that the appropriate institutional choice can make a difference in terms of the performance of democracy in divided societies. through the formation of a grand coalition cabinet. mutual vetoes and segmental autonomy provide additional incentives for leaders of ethnic leaders to participate within politics. the institutions should be designed in a way that all groups are represented so that the upcoming conflict is prevented. and Belgium as case studies. he proposes the consociational model: coalition government. and finally.

if sharing power is not necessary to control the state. Like these two leading scholars. He proposes a presidential form of democracy with an alternative voting system as election method. This dissertation will try to specifically reflect on the structure of the government and posits the inclusive/accommodative method in order to resolve the existing ethnic conflict in the society. and some on the electoral method. He argues that the consociational model is not motivationally adequate in the sense that it does not offer the leaders of ethnic groups the incentive to cooperate and enter into a power-sharing arrangement in the first place. While the incentives for minority leaders are clear. other scholars have also reflected on different aspect of institutional design: some on the structure of the government. Donald Horowitz has criticized Lijphart’s work and provides another proposal. consociation is more likely where there is no clear majority.On the other hand of the equation on democracy in divided society. Accordingly. the incentives for majority leaders are much less so. .