Political Power-sharing and Inclusion: Peace and Transition Processes


Political Power-sharing and Inclusion: Peace and Transition Processes


Bell, C. (2018). Political Power-sharing and Inclusion: Peace and Transition Processes [PA-X Report, Power-Sharing Series]. Global Justice Academy, University of Edinburgh.

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Summary: This report sets out how peace negotiations and peace agreements formalize political power-sharing arrangements, using data from the PA-X database (www.peaceagreements.org). In particular, it aims to consider the tensions between the inclusion of political and military elites in the new dispensation and broader projects of social inclusion, including for example women and ‘non-aligned’ minorities. The report addresses the key tension between the ‘elite pact’ of the peace process captured in a political power-sharing arrangement necessary to short-term stability, and the ambition that it evolves to comprise a broader, more inclusive social contract, capable of sustaining peace and preventing conflict in the
long term.

Key findings:

  • Power-sharing is used in peace processes to quite different ends.
  • Each type of power-sharing creates a different form of elite pact, with different implicit theories of change, and different challenges for inclusion.


  • Power-sharing arrangements require long-term approaches to supporting implementation of a peace agreement.
  • Support power-sharing arrangements which aim to deliver political equality to ethno-national groups, as medium to long-term arrangements which cannot be moved from until there are clear alternatives for ensuring political equality of groups in political decision-making.
  • Where the power-sharing arrangement is explicitly time-limited and focused on enabling a transition to democracy, to understand the need for the ongoing buy-in of the parties to the conflict, to the reform process and manage civic  expectations of democratic reform accordingly.
  • Support the evolution of power-sharing arrangements, by understanding power-sharing as a dynamic institutional form, capable of change over time.
  • Use lessons-learned from past power-sharing outcomes, to support the innovation of better peace agreement power-sharing design with respect to social inclusion.
  • Take human rights measures seriously as an important safeguard to power-sharing bargains.

Keywords: PA-X; Peace Agreements; Peace Processes; Power Sharing; Inclusion; Unsettlement

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