Combining Federalism with Consociationalism: Is Belgian Consociational Federalism Digging its Own Grave?

Didier Caluwaerts, Min Reuchamps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Belgian consociational federalism is often praised for its ability to deal peacefully with the country's internal divisions. Nevertheless, recent political stalemates raise the question: Is Belgian consociational federalism digging its own grave? This article argues that granting segmental autonomy effectively accommodates political conflicts that are currently on the agenda, but renders the process of intersegmental conflict accommodation increasingly more difficult in the long run. More specifically, federalism undermines the problem-solving capacity of the other power-sharing mechanisms in three ways: (1) it increases demands for more autonomy, (2) it decreases the potential for package deals and (3) it lowers the costs of non-agreements which induce a political stalemate. These evolutions are often overlooked, but go to the heart of the impasse Belgian politics has recently experienced.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-295
Number of pages8
JournalEthnopolitics
Volume14
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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