Recents in Beach

Power sharing class 10 | Power sharing notes pw | Resonance notes



Power sharing among the three organs of state viz., Legislature, Executive and Judiciary is very 

important for the proper functioning of the democracy. 

The idea of power sharing has emerged as 

opposition to the notion of undivided political power. In a democracy, everyone has a voice in shaping of 

public policies.To understand how democracies handle demands for power sharing, here we are 

discussing the forms of power sharing in Belgium and Sri Lanka. 




(a) Ethnic composition of Belgium : A small country in Europe, It has borders with Netherlands, 

France and Germany. It has a population of a little over one crore. The ethnic composition of this small country is very complex. Of the country’s total population, 59 percent lives in the Flemish

region and speaks Dutch language. Another 40 percent people live in the Wallonia region and speak 

French. Remaining 1 percent of the Belgians speak German. In the capital city Brussels, 80 percent 

people speak French while 20 percent are Dutch speaking. 

Problems– The minority French-speaking community was relatively rich and powerful. This was 

resented by Dutch-speaking community who got the benefit of economic development and 

education much later. This led to tensions between the Dutch-speaking and French-speaking 

communities during the 1950s and 1960s. Brussels presented a special problem: The Dutch-

speaking people constituted a majority in the country, but a minority in the capital. 

(b) Ethnic composition of Sri Lanka : 

Sri Lanka is an island nation. It has about 2 crore people, Sri Lanka has a diverse population. The 

major social groups are the Sinhala-speakers (74 percent) and the Tamil-speakers (18 percent). 

Among Tamils there are two subgroups. Tamil natives of the country are called ‘Sri Lankan Tamils’ 

(13 percent). The rest, are called ‘Indian Tamils’. Most of the Sinhala-speaking people are Buddhist, 

while most of the Tamils are Hindus or Muslims. There are about 7 percent Christians, who are both Tamil and Sinhala


Majoritarianism is a political philosophy which asserts that a majority of the population (majority by

language, religion or any other identifying factor) has the right to take the decisions affecting the

society. It means submission of the minority group to the majority group for all the decisions

affecting their lives. It often results in preferential policies being followed, favouring the majority

group in university positions and government jobs and other opportunities and interests, thus

denying the minority equal rights and opportunities.

(a) Majoritarian measures to establish Sinhala supremacy :

In 1956, an Act was passed to recognise Sinhala as the only official language, thus disregarding

Tamil. The government followed preferential policies that favoured Sinhala applicants for university

positions and government jobs. A new constitution stipulated that the state shall protect and foster


(b) Outcomes/Problems that emerged :

Majoritarianism has increased the feeling of alienation among the Sri Lankan Tamils. They felt that

the constitution and government policies denied them equal political rights, discriminated against

them in getting jobs and other opportunities and ignored their interests. The relations between the

Sinhala and Tamil communities strained over time.

The Sri Lankan Tamils launched parties and struggles for the recognition of Tamil as an official

language, for regional autonomy and equality of opportunity in securing education and jobs. By

1980s several political organisation were formed demanding an independent Tamil Eelam (state) in

northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka. The distrust between the two communities turned into

widespread conflict. It soon turned into a civil war (A civil war is a violent conflict between various

groups in a country itself often due to undermining of a particular group’s interests or sentiments by

the other group.). The civil war has caused a terrible setback to the social, cultural and economic life

of the country.


The Belgian leaders recognised the existence of regional differences and cultural diversities.

Between 1970 and 1993, they amended their constitution four times so as to work out an

arrangement that would enable everyone to live together within the same country. Some of the

elements of the Belgian model are–

(i) Constitution prescribes that the number of Dutch and French-speaking ministers shall be equal

in the central government.

(ii) Many powers of the central government have been given to state government of the two regions

of the country. The state governments are not subordinate to the Central Government.

(iii) Brussels has a separate government in which both the communities have equal representation.

(iv) Apart from the Central and the State Government, there is a third kind of government. This

‘community government’ (A community government is one in which different social groups are

given the power to handle the affairs related to their communities. They are expected to work

jointly for the benefit of the common masses without undermining any one community.)’ is

elected by people belonging to one language community – Dutch, French and German-speaking

–no matter where they live. This government has the power regarding cultural, educational and

language–related issues.

These arrangements have worked well so far. They helped to avoid civic strife between the two

major communities and a possible division of the country on linguistic lines. When many

countries of Europe came together to form the European Union, Brussels was chosen as its



In deeply divided societies (divided on ethnic, cultural, religion grounds) equal representation of all

the principal groups is called for. Every social group needs a share in the governance to ensure that

their interests would be taken care of. Power sharing is desirable on two grounds:

(a) Prudential Reason :

Power sharing is good because it helps to reduce the possibility of conflict between social groups.

Power sharing is a good way to ensure the stability of political order. Imposing the will of majority

community over others many look like an attractive option in the short run, but in the long run it

undermines the unity of the nation. Tyranny of the majority is not just oppressive for the minority: it

often brings ruin to the majority as well. Prudential reasons stress that power sharing will bring out better outcomes.

Moral Reasons :

Power sharing is the very spirit of democracy. A democratic rule involves sharing power with those

affected by its exercise, and who have to live with its effects. People have a right to be consulted on

how they are to be governed. A legitimate government is one where citizens, through participation,

acquire a stake in the system. Moral reasons emphasises the very act of power sharing as valuable.


Power sharing is a strategy wherein all the major segments of the society are provided with a

permanent share of power in the governance of the country. It is a means for sharing practices and

established rules and rules to facilitate broad-based decision-making, controlling and leading.

(a) Sharing of power : Must in democracy :

One basic principle of democracy is that people are the source of all political power. In a democracy,

people rule themselves through institutions of self–governance. In a good democratic government,

due respect is given to diverse groups and views that exist in a society. Everyone has a voice in the

shaping of public policies. Therefore, it follows that in a democracy political power should be

distributed among as many citizens as possible.

(b) Forms of Power Sharing :

Power sharing

Among different organs

of government

Among Governments

at different levels

Among different

social groups

Political Parties

pressure groups

and movements

In modern democracies, power sharing arrangements can take many forms.

(i) Power is shared among different organs of government such as the legislature, executive and

judiciary. Is also termed as horizontal distribution of power because it allows different organs of

government placed at the same level to exercise different powers. Such a separation ensures

that none of the organs can exercise unlimited power. Each organ checks the others. This

results in a balance of power among various institutions. This arrangement is called a system of

checks and balances.

(ii) Power can be shared among governments at different levels – A general government for the

entire country and governments at the provincial or regional level. Such a general government

for the entire country is usually called federal government. The governments at the provincial or

regional level are called by different names in different countries. The constitution clearly lays

down the powers of different levels of government. This is called federal division of power. The

same principle can be extended to levels of government lower than the State government, such

as the municipality and panchayat, can also be termed as vertical division of power.

(iii) Power can be shared among different social groups, such as the religious and linguistic groups.

In some countries there are constitutional and legal arrangements whereby socially weaker

sections and women are represented in the legislatures and administration.

This type of arrangement is meant to give space in the government and administration to

diverse social groups who otherwise would feel alienated from the government. This method is

used to give minority communities a fair share in power.

(iv) Power sharing arrangements can also be seen in the way political parties, pressure groups and

movements control or influence those in power. It ensures that power does not remain in one

hand. In the long run power is shared among different political parties that represent different

ideologies and social groups. Sometimes this kind of sharing can be direct, when two or more

parties form an alliance to contest elections. If their alliance is elected, they form a coalition

government and thus share power. Interest groups also have a share in governmental power,

either through participation in governmental committees or bringing influence on the decision making problems.

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