The Prevalence of Power-Sharing: Exploring the Patterns of Post-Election Peace

Anna K. Jarstad


Why are some elections followed by armed conflict, while others are not? This article begins to explore this question by mapping the prevalence of power-sharing agreements and patterns of post-election peace in states shattered by civil war. While democracy builds on the notion of free political competition and uncertain electoral outcomes, power-sharing reduces the uncertainty by ensuring political power for certain groups. Nevertheless, new data presented in this article – the Post-Accord Elections (PAE) data collection – shows that the issues of peace, power-sharing and democracy have become intertwined as the vast majority of contemporary peace agreements provide for both power-sharing and elections. First, in contrast to previous research which has suggested that power-sharing is a tool for ending violence, this study shows that conflict often continues after an agreement has been signed, even if it includes provisions for power-sharing. Second, this investigation shows no evidence of power-sharing facilitating the holding of elections. On the contrary, it is more common that elections are held following a peace process without power-sharing. Third, a period of power-sharing ahead of the elections does not seem to provide for postelection peace. Rather, such elections are similarly dangerous as post-accord elections held without a period of power-sharing. The good news is that power-sharing does not seem to have a negative effect on post-election peace.

Full Text: PDF (English)

Logo von Hamburg University Press und der Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg Carl von Ossietzky Logo des GIGA-Institut Logo der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft Logo der Vereinigung für Afrikawissenschaften in Deutschland e.V. Logo der Leibniz-Gesellschaft