The impact of application of consociational arrangements in democratization of Kosovo : Have consociational arrangements translated into democratization?

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Title: The impact of application of consociational arrangements in democratization of Kosovo : Have consociational arrangements translated into democratization?
Author: Berisha, Bujar
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, Politiikan ja talouden tutkimuksen laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political and Economic Studies
Helsingfors universitet, Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för politik och ekonomi
Publisher: Helsingfors universitet
Date: 2016
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Political Science, Politics
Yleinen valtio-oppi, politiikan tutkimus
Allmän statslära, politologi
Abstract: This thesis is about the impact of consociational power-sharing in the democratization of Kosovo. Consociational democracy as a model aims to bridge the ethnic divide under a democratic system of government. In post-conflict cases power-sharing is arranged though institutionalized representation quotas for minorities. Consociational democracy as a model of governance has been mostly successful in already well established democracies. Power-sharing in Kosovo was applied with a top-down approach by international actors as a form of conflict resolution and inter-ethnic reconciliation at the elite/leadership level. Such an approach has, to some extent, ignored the lack of democratic tradition characterized with a socialist/communist past under Yugoslavia, in addition to ignoring the severe lack of trust and inter-ethnic communication at the grassroots level between the majority Albanians and minority Serbs. Following the theory of historical institutionalism the finding is that lack of democratization in Kosovo is path dependent and thus 'history matters' in the process of institutional building. Under the conditions of no statehood, the international actors have held executive competences as being the supreme authority, while lacking democratic legitimacy and accountability. Thus, at the time of constitutional design, decision-makers found themselves at the crossroads, or 'critical junctures', knowing that given the nature of the conflict, the path taken might be irreversible. Additionally, upon deciding consociational power-sharing, it was carried out without possessing adequate socio-demographic data and uncertainty of a final status for Kosovo. Therefore, the approach can be considered experimental. In sum, given the aforementioned nature of consociational power-sharing combined with a number of factors, such as path-dependency, a complex system of governance, uncertainly of the final status and lack of inter-ethnic reconciliation at the grassroots level, the conclusion is that this approach has not had any significant impact on the democratization of Kosovo. According to numerous reports, Kosovo’s democracy in general faces many problems – thus, against other goals democracy remained a second priority.

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