The Power-Sharing Experience in Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka

Type Journal Article - British Journal of Political Science
Title The Power-Sharing Experience in Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka
Volume 32
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2002
Page numbers 193-220
This article seeks to identify the lessons that can be learnt by Sri Lankan policymakers
from the experience of power-sharing in Northern Ireland since the establishment of the
Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive as part of the 1998 Belfast Agreement. By
comparing the power-sharing mechanisms created by both the Northern Irish and Sri
Lankan governments in recent years, the author argues that the institutional devices
created under the Belfast Agreement are paving the way for the successful
transformation of a deep-seated conflict in Northern Ireland because of their adherence
to the principles of consociationalist theory. In contrast, the Sri Lankan government
have not been able to achieve their intended goals primarily because the essence and
spirit of power-sharing have been largely ignored by the country’s policymakers.
Consequently, the author argues that Sri Lankan policymakers should put forward an
alternative choice based on the Draft Constitution of 1997 as a solution to the current
shortcomings in governance—one which incorporates elements of consociationalism
and federalism, creating a consensual decision-making process and genuine autonomy
for ethnic groups over issues directly relevant to themselves

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