The disputed 2014 Afghan presidential election led to a power-sharing arrangement between President Ashraf Ghani (right) and rival Abdullah Abdullah. (U.S. State Department Photo/Public Domain)
The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has released a new report on power-sharing and negotiations. The report was co-authored by Laurie Nathan, director of the mediation program at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, David Lanz, co-head of the mediation program at swisspeace and a spring 2019 scholar in residence at the Kroc Institute, and Alexandre Raffoul, associate reseracher in swisspeace's mediation program.
Most negotiated peace settlements since the 1990s have featured some aspect of power sharing, including those in Northern Ireland, Burundi, Bosnia, and Nepal. The report examines "the long-term performance of power sharing as an approach to ending intra-state armed conflicts." The report argues that providing space for continued negotiations after a peace agreement is concluded is crucial to insuring the sustainability and success of power-sharing arrangements.
The USIP description of the report states, "However, by freezing a sometimes unstable status quo, power sharing can create challenges to maintaining peace over the longer term as issues arise that rekindle enmity or create new suspicions among the parties. This report argues that power-sharing arrangements can be made more durable by providing robust forums, either permanent or ad hoc, that allow parties to resolve differences as they arise and to reaffirm their commitment to peace."