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The missing pillars: a look at the failure of peace in Burundi through the lens of Arend Lijphart's theory of consociational democracy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 February 2005

Daniel P. Sullivan
Affiliation:
The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Washington.

Abstract

The failure of a power-sharing attempt at peace in Burundi in 1993 led to the killing of hundreds of thousands of Burundians and played a significant role in feeding tensions leading up to the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, in which another 800,000 people lost their lives. A look at the specifics of this power-sharing arrangement in the framework of Arend Lijphart's theory of consociational democracy leads to some interesting conclusions and insights into why the effort at peace failed and how future efforts could be improved. The paper looks at the arrangement in terms of Lijphart's four main pillars for successful consociationalism in deeply divided states: a grand coalition, segmental autonomy, minority overrepresentation or parity, and a minority veto. The extent to which Lijphart's recommendations were implemented is assessed along with the impact of their presence or absence. The analysis leads to some important lessons and further questions which are of particular importance as Burundi heads into its latest attempt at a stable and peaceful society.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2004 Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

The author would like to thank Alan J. Kuperman and three anonymous referees for their constructive comments and suggestions on an earlier draft of the paper.

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The missing pillars: a look at the failure of peace in Burundi through the lens of Arend Lijphart's theory of consociational democracy
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