Transnational consociation in Northern Ireland and in Bosnia-Hercegovina : the role of reference states in post-settlement power-sharing
The thesis considers ethno-territorial conflicts in which there are two conflict groups with corresponding ‘reference states’. ‘Reference states’ are internationally recognised states with co-nationals in the aforementioned disputed territory. The literature on ethno-national conflict regulation largely neglects the potential constructive role of ‘reference states’. In particular, Arend Lijphart’s work on consociational democracy focuses on elite accommodation within the conflict zone, but views other agents as ‘external’ to the dispute. Unlike most of the current ethnic conflict literature, the thesis will use a theoretical approach to derive the features of a settlement, not distil traits from purely empirical research. An informal model is employed assuming that that a military option is not open to reference states and that disengagement from the co-nationals is costly. The actions of the reference state are simplified to four options: remaining at the same level of conflict, escalating the dispute, attempting cooperation, or disengaging from the dispute. The features derived for the resulting transnational consociation settlement are: durable reference state/conational links, bipartisanship within reference states, intergovernmentalism between reference states, and consociational democracy internal to the disputed territory. The thesis then focuses on the post-conflict power-sharing settlements in Bosnia- Hercegovina and in Northern Ireland to investigate the features of transnational consociation in these two cases. The settlement after the Belfast Agreement exhibits the traits of transnational consociation, with a strong intergovernmental Dublin- London axis acting as reliable long-term guarantors of the settlement. By contrast, there is little intergovernmentalism between Zagreb and Belgrade regarding the settlement in Bosnia-Hercegovina. The post-conflict institutions are held together by international agencies that do not have as durable a link to the conflict zone as the ‘reference states’. Therefore, a durable transnational consociation with the ‘reference states’ as guarantors is more likely in Northern Ireland than in Bosnia-Hercegovina.