Faustian Bargains: Electoral Violence and Transitional Power Sharing in Kenya and Zimbabwe
Beckelman, Tyler M.
Power sharing agreements have become an increasingly prevalent means of ending civil war and a logical institutional approach to long-term conflict management in divided societies. While existing literature has focused on the use of power-sharing agreements to end protracted ethnic conflict, the negotiation of power sharing pacts to end violent electoral disputes is a relatively recent phenomenon, presenting a unique set of circumstances for the theory and practice of power sharing. This paper hypothesizes the range of factors that condition the ability of power sharing coalitions following violent elections to deliver political reform, and explores these factors in Kenya and Zimbabwe. The analysis finds that while the coalition government in Zimbabwe remains mired in political deadlock, Kenya has made unsteady progress towards reform due to the institutional design of the power sharing coalition, a history of elite cohesion and alliance building, and more effective vertical accountability mechanisms. Understanding the factors that condition the incentives of coalition governments to deliver reform following situations of democratic deadlock not only provides further specification to theories of power sharing, it also highlights useful pointers for international peace building and democratization strategies in countries experiencing violent electoral conflict.
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