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UNIT III

DEMOCRATIC POLITICS

Lesson – 1

Power Sharing

MCQ-

Q.1 How many people speak French and Dutch in the capital city of Brussels?

a) 60 percent French 40 percent Dutch b) 50% Dutch 50% French

c) 80% French 20% Dutch d) 80% Dutch 20% French

Q.2 How many times leaders of Belgium amended their constitution?

A) Two times B) Three times

C) Four times d) Since time

Q.3 Which one of the following is correct regarding power sharing?

A) It leads to conflict between different groups. B) It ensures the stability of the


country. C) It helps to reduce the conflict between different groups.

a) Only A is true b) Only B is true c) Both A and B are true

d) Both B and C are true

Q.4 Which was the only official language of Sri Lanka?

a) Tamil (b) Malyalam

c) Sinhala (d) none of the mention above

Q.5 Which community was rich and powerful in Belgium?

a) German (b) French


c) Dutch (d) none of the mention above

Answers key of MCQ :

(1) c (2) c (3) d (4) c (5) b

Short Answer questions

Q.1 What was a community government?

Q.2 What was the political problems faced by Belgium?

Q.3 Explain the ethnic problem of Srilanka.

 Q.4. How did the Sri Lankan and the Belgium governments try to solve the
ethnic problem?
 Ans.
1. The Belgium leaders tried to solve the ethnic problem by respecting the
feelings and interests of different communities and regions, whereas the Sri
Lanka Government tried to solve the problem through majoritarianism.
2. The Belgium solution helped in avoiding civic strife, whereas the
majoritarianism in Sri Lanka led to the civil war.

Q.5. Explain the prudential reasons for power sharing.


Q. 6. Explain the moral reason for power sharing.
Q. 7. What is power sharing?
Q. 8. Mention the steps taken by the Sri Lankan government to achieve
majoritarianism.

Long Answers questions

Q.1 How Belgian government solved its ethnic Problem ?

Ans : The Path of accommodation adopted in Belgium.

 Dutch and French speaking ministers shall be equal in the central govt.
 Many Powers of the central government have been given to state govt. The
state govt. are not subordinate to the central govt.
 Brussels has a separate govt. in which both the communities have equal
representation.
 There is a third kind of govt. called community govt. elected by the people
belonging to Dutch, French and German no matter where they live.

Q.2 What is majoritariamisum? How it has led to alienation of majority


community in Sri Lanka?

Ans- Define the term ‘majoritarianism’.

 A belief that the majority community should be able to rule the country in
whichever ways it want, by disregarding the wishes and needs of the minority
community is majoritarianism’.

 In srilanka mainly there are two communities- Sinhala and Tamils the
leaders of the sinhala community sought to secure dominance over the govt.
by virtue of their majority. Sinhala has been recognized as the official
language of the country by disregarding Tamil.
 Government followed a preferential policy favouring Sinhalased in
university positions and govt. jobs.
 The govt. encouraged and protected Budhism.

The distrust has turned into a civil war that has caused a set back to social cultural
and economic life of SriLanka.

CIVICS
Lesson No. 1
Power Sharing

Summary :

 Power sharing: Power sharing is the distribution of power among the organs
of the government like – legislature, executive and judiciary. It is an intelligent
step to ensure the stability of political order. Besides, power sharing also
includes sharing at the different levels like union, state and local.
 Ethnic: A social division based on shared culture. Mostly people belonging to
the same ethnic group believe in their common descent because they have
similarities of physical type or culture or both. They may not have the same
religion or nationality, e.g, French speaking, Dutch speaking, Sinhala speaking,
etc.
 Majoritarian: A concept which signifies a belief that the majority community
should be able to rule a country in whichever way it wants is known as
Majoritarian. In this type of rule they disregard the wishes and needs of the
minority.
 Community Government: A type of Government which is elected by
people belonging to one language community is called community government.
Dutch, French and German speaking no matter where they live. This is a very
specific type of government in Belgium. It deals with cultural, educational and
language related issues.

 Civil War: A violent conflict between opposing groups within a country is


known as civil war. Sometimes it becomes so intense that it appears like a war.
 Prudential: It is a set of reason which favors power sharing. It is based on
prudence, or on careful calculation of gains and losses. Prudential reasons stress
beneficial consequences.
 Checks and Balances: A system in which each organ of the government
checks the others which results in a balance of power among various institutions.
It ensures that none of the organs can exercise unlimited power.
 Vertical Division of power: It is a type of distribution of power which
involves the higher and lower levels of government such as central, provincial
and regional levels.
 Reserved Constituencies: It is a system in which constituencies are
reserved in the Assemblies and the Parliament for minorities in order to give
them a fair share in power.
 Coalition government: when the alliance of two or more parties gets
elected and forms a government it is known as the Coalition Government. This
is another form of power sharing.

 Power Sharing in Belgium


 Belgium is a small country in Europe.

 Division of Population (Ethnic Composition of the People in Belgium )

The ethnic composition of Belgium is very complex.



Flemish (Dutch speaking): 59%
Wallonia (French speaking): 40%
Remaining 1 % speak German.
In the capital city Brussels, 80% people speak French, while the rest speak
Dutch .

 State the two sets of reasons in favour of power sharing. Or What are the
prudential and moral reasons for power sharing?

 Prudential Reasons:
 Power sharing is good because it helps to reduce the possibility of conflict
between social groups.
 Since social conflict often leads to violence and political instability, power
sharing is a good way to ensure the stability of political order.
 Imposing the will of the majority community over the minority may look
like an attractive option in the short run, but in the long run it undermines
the unity of the nation.
 Tyranny of the majority is not just oppressive for the minority, it often
brings ruin to the majority as well.

 Moral Reasons:
 Power sharing is the very spirit of democracy.
 A democratic rule involves sharing power with those affected by its
exercise, and who have to live with its effects.
 People have a right to be consulted on how they are to be governed.
 A legitimate government is one where citizens, through participation,
acquire a chance in the system.

 State the basic reason for the tension between the French speaking and Dutch
speaking communities in Belgium. ( Answer ) :

 The minority French-speaking community is economically and educationally


well-to-do in comparison to the Dutch-speaking majority.
 The minority French-speaking community was relatively rich and powerful. This
was resented by the Dutch-speaking community who got the benefit of
economic development and education much later. This led to tension between
the Dutch-speaking and French-speaking communities during the 1950s and
1960s

 For accommodating the interests of the minority and the majority,


Belgium adopted a unique system of power sharing.

 How did the Belgian Government resolve the ethnic diversities and tension
between them? Or How was power shared between the people in Belgium?

 The Belgian Government recognized the existence of regional differences and


cultural diversities.
 Between 1970 and 1993 they amended their constitution four times to work out an
arrangement that would enable everyone to live together within the same country.
The arrangement they worked out is different from any other country and is very
innovative.

 The Belgian Model of Governance


 The French and Dutch-speaking ministers are equal in the central government.
 Some special laws require the support of majority of members from each
linguistic group. Thus, no single community can make decisions unilaterally.
 Many powers of the central government have been given to state governments of
the two regions of the country. The state governments are not subordinate to the
Central Government.
 Brussels has a separate government in which both the communities (French and
Dutch) have equal representation. The French-speaking people accepted equal
representation in Brussels because the Dutch-speaking community has accepted
equal representation in the Central Government.
 A ‘community government’ exists. It is elected by people belonging to one
language community – Dutch, French and German-speaking – no matter where
they live. This government has the power regarding cultural, educational and
language-related issues.
.
 This kind of governance has prevented a civil strife between the two different
linguistic communities.

Power Sharing in Sri Lanka :

 The Ethnic diversity of the people in Sri Lanka.

 Sri Lanka has a diverse population with 74% Sinhala speakers and 18% Tamil
speakers. Among Tamils, 13% are called ‘Sri Lankan Tamils’ and the rest
‘Indian Tamils’. ( Among Tamils, there are wo subgroups. Tamil natives of the
country are called ‘Sri Lankan Tamils’. The rest, whose forefathers came from
India as lantation workers during colonial period, are called ‘Indian Tamils’.)
 Most of the Sinhala-speaking people are Buddhist, while most of the Tamils are
Hindus or Muslims. There are about 7 % Christians, who are both Tamil and
Sinhala.
 (Name the conflicting group of people in Srilanka: Sinhala-speakers and the
Tamil-speakers .)
 So in SriLanka the problem was who is going to hold power and enjoy the
economic benefits.

 State the basic reasons for the tension ( Civil War ) between Sinhala and Tamil
speaking people in Sri Lanka. Or Why do the Sri Lankan Tamils feel
alienated in their country?

 Sri Lanka emerged as an independent country in 1948.


 In Sri Lanka, the Sinhala community enjoyed a bigger majority and could
impose its will on the entire country. As a result, the democratically elected
government adopted a series of majoritarian measures to establish Sinhala
supremacy.
 In 1956, Sinhala was recognised as the only official language of Sri Lanka; thus,
disregarding Tamil.
 The governments followed preferential policies that favoured Sinhala applicants
for university positions and government jobs.
 A new constitution stipulated that the state shall protect and foster Buddhism.
 All these government measures, coming one after the other, gradually increased
the feeling of alienation among the Sri Lankan Tamils.
 They felt that none of the major political parties led by the Buddhist Sinhala
leaders was sensitive to their language and culture. They felt that the
Constitution and government policies denied them equal political rights,
discriminated against them in getting jobs and other opportunities and ignored
their interests.
 A feeling of alienation was seen among the Sri Lankan Tamils.
 The Sri Lankan Tamils launched parties and struggles for the recognition of
Tamil as an official language, for regional autonomy and equality of opportunity
in securing education and jobs. But their demand for more autonomy to
provinces populated by the Tamils was repeatedly denied by the Sinhala
dominated government.
 By 1980s, several political organizations were formed demanding an
independent Tamil Eelam (state) in northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka.
 The distrust & these differences between the two communities turned into
widespread conflict. It soon turned Sri Lanka into the state civil war. (any four)
 In Sri Lanka, the idea of majoritarianism crumbled the country in a civil war.

 What were the majoritarian measures adopted by the Sri Lankan Government?
 In 1956, Sinhala was recognised as the only official language of Sri Lanka; thus,
disregarding Tamil.
 The governments followed preferential policies that favoured Sinhala applicants
for university positions and government jobs.
 A new constitution stipulated that the state shall protect and foster Buddhism.

Why Power Sharing is Desirable?


 To avoid conflict: It reduce the possibility of conflict between the various social groups.
Since social conflict often leads to violence and political instability, power sharing is a good
way to ensure political stability.
 Imposing the will of majority community over the minority may look like an attractive option
in the short run, but in long run, it undermines the unity of the nation.
 Tyranny of the majority is not just oppressive for the minority, if often brings ruin to the
majority as well.
 Spirit of democracy: Power sharing is the basic spirit of democracy.
 A democratic rule involves the sharing of power with those affected by its exercise, and those
who have to live with its effects.
 A democratic government is chosen by the people. So they are to be governed.
 A legitimate government is one where groups, through participation acquire a stake in the
system.
 Power sharing is the very essence of a democracy as participation of citizens is an
essential factor.
 An intelligent sharing of power among legislature, executive and judiciary is very
important to the design of a democracy.

 Power Sharing :
 Power sharing is important because it reduces the conflict between different
social groups.
 Social conflicts often leads to violence and political instability
 Power sharing is a good way to ensure the stability of political order.
 A democratic rule involves sharing power with those affected by its exercise, and
who have to live with its effects.
 People have a right to be consulted on how they are to be governed.
 A legitimate govt. is one where citizens, through participation, acquire a stake in
the system.

 Principle of Democracy :

 One basis of principle of democracy is that people are the source of all political
power.
 The basic principles of power, sharing include-
1. Government of different political parties, i.e., a coalition government.
2. Protection of minority rights.
3. Decentralization of power.

 Different forms of Government :

 Power is shared among different organs of govt. such as the legislature,


executive and judiciary.
 Power can be should among governments at different levels a general govt. for
the entire country and governments at the provincial or regional level.
 The idea of power sharing has emerged in opposition to the notions of
undivided political power.
 In modern sharing democracies, power sharing arrangements can take many
forms such as:
 Power is shared among different organs of government, such as the
legislature, executive and judiciary. Each organ checks the others. This
results in a balance of power among various organs. This is a horizontal
division of powers, as it allows different organs of government placed at
the same level to exercise different powers.
 Ministers and government officials exercise power but at the same time
they are responsible to the Parliament or State; and although the Judges
are appointed by the executive, they can check the functioning of
executive or laws made by the legislature.
 Power can be shared among governments at different levels: a general
government for the entire country and governments at the provincial or
regional level. Such a government is called federal government. This is a
vertical division of power, as the central government delegates its powers
to the state governments and they in turn delegate it to the smaller
governing bodies and institutions.
 Power may also be shared among different social groups such as the
religious and linguistic groups. In some countries, there are constitutional
and legal arrangements whereby socially weaker sections and women are
represented in the legislatures and administration.
 Power sharing arrangements can also be seen in the way political parties,
pressure groups and movements control or influence those in power.
This way the power is shared among different parties that represent
different ideologies and social groups. When two or more parties form
an alliance to contest elections, this kind of power sharing can be direct.
If their alliance is elected, they form a coalition government and thus
share power.

 Explain the power sharing arrangements among the political parties and
pressure groups.
 In a democracy, power is also shared among different political parties, pressure
groups and movements.
 Democracy provides the citizens a choice to choose their rulers. This choice is
provided by the various political parties, who contest elections to win them. Such
competition ensures that power does not remain in one hand.
 In the long run, power is shared among the different political parties that
represent different ideologies and social groups. Sometimes, this kind of sharing
can be direct, when two or more parties form an alliance to contest elections. If
their alliance is elected, they form a coalition government and thus share power.
 In a democracy, various pressure groups and movements also remain active.
They also have a share in governmental power, either through participation in
governmental committees or having influence on the decision making process.

 Describe the power sharing among different social groups.


 Power may be shared among different social groups, such as the religious and
linguistic groups. ‘Community government’ in Belgium is a good example of this
arrangement.
 In some countries, there are constitutional and legal arrangements whereby
socially weaker sections and women are represented in the legislatures and
administration.

 Describe the horizontal distribution of power. What are its advantages?

 Power is shared among different organs of government, such as the


legislature, executive and judiciary. We call this horizontal distribution of
power because it allows different organs of government placed at the same
level to exercise different powers.
 Such a separation ensures that none of the organs can exercise unlimited
power. Each organ checks the others. This results in a balance of power
among various institutions.
 Similarly, although judges are appointed by the executive, they can check
the functioning of executive or laws made by the legislatures. This
arrangement is called a system of checks and balances.

 Describe the vertical division of power. Or What is meant by federal division of


power?
 Power can be shared among governments at different levels – a general
government for the entire country and overnments at the provincial or
regional level. Such a general government for the entire country is usually
called federal government. In India, we refer to it as the Central or Union
Government.
 The governments at the provincial or regional level are called by different
names in different countries. In India, we call hem State Governments.
This is called federal division of power.
 The same principle can be extended to levels of government lower than the
State government, such as the municipality and panchayat. Division of powers
involving higher and lower levels of government is called vertical division of
power.

 Explain the difference between horizontal and vertical power sharing.


 Horizontal Power sharing

1. Under the horizontal power sharing power is shared among different


organs of government such as the legislature, executive and judiciary.

2. Under horizontal distribution of power, organs of the government are


placed at the same level to exercise different powers.

3. Under horizontal each organ checks the other.

 Vertical Power sharing


1.Under the vertical sharing power, power is shared among the different
levels of the governments.

2.The vertical division of power involves the highest and the lower levels
of

government.

3.Under vertical power sharing the lower organs work under the higher
org.

 Describe the power sharing among political parties, pressure groups and
movements.
 Power sharing arrangements can also be seen in the way political parties,
pressure groups and movements control or influence those in power. In
contemporary democracies, political competition ensures that power does
not remain in one hand.
 In the long run, power is shared among different political parties that
represent different ideologies and social groups. Sometimes this kind of
sharing can be direct, when two or more parties form an alliance to contest
elections. If their alliance is elected, they form a coalition government and
thus share power.
 In a democracy, we find interest groups such as those of traders,
businessmen, industrialists, farmers and industrial workers. They also will
have a share in governmental power, either through participation in
governmental committees or bringing influence on the decision making
process

 How is a federal government better than a unitary government? Explain with


examples of Belgium and Sri Lanka.
 Federalism is a system of government under which power is divided
between central authority and its various constituents units.
 The Belgium leaders tried to solve the ethnic problem by respecting
communities and regions by establishing a federal government, whereas
Sri Lanka government tried to solve the problem through majoritarianism.
 The Belgium solution helped in avoiding the civic strife, whereas the
majoritarianism in Sri Lanka led to the civil war.

Questions :
1. What do you mean by power sharing?
2. Name all the different organs of govt.?
3. What do you mean power sharing in a country?
4. What do you mean by majority?
5. What are different forms of power sharing in modern Democracies give an example
of each of these.

Extra Questions-

Q.1 why is power sharing good for democracies?


Q.2 why power sharing is Desirables.
Q.3 Explain different forms of power sharing in modern democracies .
Q.4 Explain the drawbacks of majoritarianism.
Q.5 it is possible to change the power sharing arrangement? If so How?