The Influence of Ethnic Power Sharing Mechanisms on the Functioning of Parliaments in the Western Balkans
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The Western Balkans countries, yet differ in religious and ethnic background, their present-day constitutional setup – at least on paper - has plenty of similarities. Each of them has a parliamentary form of government, a proportional voting system, and a rather ceremonial head of state. Most of these countries have also a predominantly complex ethnic landscape. After the armed ethnic conflicts of the 1990s and 2000s, the region set out along constitutional consolidation. As a price of the peace, various ethnic-based power-sharing methods were introduced in the constitutional systems of the countries. However, this pa- per argues that any political regime based on such instruments – one that gives preference to the interests of certain ethnic groups – can only be built to the detriment of a democratic state. As a result of ethnic way of thinking, the political landscape is dominated by (mostly ethnic oriented) parties and effective decision-making procedures are often missing or neglected. Parliamentary activities are often held on a minimum scale, being based on obligatory tasks, a proactive manner (scrutiny, control of the government) is missing.
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