consideration and they should be proportionally
represented in the decision-making body. Moreover, it is important to limit the
contradictions between the group as much as it is possible. The other salience
of consociationalism is that each group should recognize the newly-established
government as it is impossible to successfully govern the country without it.
The next characteristic of consociationalism is that the leaders of different
groups should be driven by the idea of common interest and accommodation. According
to van Popta (2014), they should realize that the establishment of the proper
system of governance is the only apt option for their motherland. That is why
the leaders should make efforts to save the system and reach the compromise
which is the only way to stop the conflicts between the groups and provide the
security of the citizens. The other peculiarity of consociationalism is the
possibility of belonging to the several groups at the same time. For instance,
if the two groups in the country are the different nationalities a person can
be born and belong to one nationality but share the position of the other
nationality. Moreover, there can be families that consist of members
representing different groups. So, such people or families driven by their
personal interests should obviously do their utmost in order to reconcile the
conflicting groups which, in turn, can facilitate the achievement of successful
democracy. Finally, the last feature of consociationalism is the appropriate
way of governance. Indeed, the decisions of the government could have determining
consequences for the country which could lead either to chaos or to prosperity.

of the scholars who made a great contribution to determine the essence of
consociationalism and develop consociationalism theory was Lijphart. Lijphart
(2002) suggested four core elements of consociationalism, namely the
participation of all the groups in the governance process, the high level of
autonomy for each of these groups, the principle of proportionality in the
representation, and the veto power of the minority. Moreover, he determined
several conditions that can be deemed as the favorable ones for the application
of consociationalism. The first condition is the absence of the group that has
a majority. It is quite logical because if there are negotiations between
unequal parties the one that has the majority will always demand more
participation in the government process. The second favorable condition for
consociationalism is the concentration on the groups on the certain territory,
which gives an opportunity for the implementation of federalism. The third
condition is the equal population of the conflicting groups that would
establish the balance. The fourth condition is the absence of a big number of groups,
which can thwart the process of negotiations, as it would be much more
difficult to reach consensus. The fifth condition is the little territory and
population of the country. This condition accelerates the process of decision-making.
The sixth condition which can unify the conflicting groups is the existence of
an external menace. The next condition is the absence of social and economic
differences between the members of the rival groups. If such differences exist
then the group that has more economic potential can use this advantage as the
lever to have an impact on the other group. The last condition is the existence
of the past experience of compromise. Indeed, if the country had a similar
experience in the past it would have more opportunities to come to an
agreement. Lijphart (2002) accentuated that these conditions were not the decisive
ones and that their existence did not guarantee the success of
consociationalism. Moreover, the successful consociationalism can be possible
without one or several of these conditions. However, it can be surely stated
that the existence of the mentioned conditions increases the chances of the
successful application of consociationalism. Lijphart (2002) made a bold statement
that consociationalism could be applied in all circumstances and gave some
recommendations regarding its implementation. The critics doubted that this
theory could be applied in every circumstance stating that this theory did not
have certain methods in empirical studies. Nevertheless, the recommendations of
Lijphart should not be underestimated and they should be considered as the
helpful guidelines. For example, in the case of the existence of many
conflicting groups Lijphart (2002) suggests the concept of group autonomy which
can be used as the way out. The other recommendation is about the situation
with the majority group. The scholar recommends the leaders of the majority
group to compromise and agree to equal representation in the decision making
body in exchange for something else.

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to Carvalho (2016), there were some scholars who put the theory of consociationalism
under doubt. The group of scholars insisted that the consociationalism should
not be regarded as the theory but as the special order of decision making that
is directed to solve the existing conflict. The other scholars evaluate the
recommendations of Lijphart (2002) regarding preparing the appropriate
conditions for carrying out power-sharing as not concrete and flexible. They
think that he did not mention the specific actions which can be helpful.
Nevertheless, there was not any scholar who denied totally the consociational
theory and each of them used the yields of his theory.  

into account all the above-mentioned scientific arguments, we can state that
the main mission of consociational theory is to lower the level of conflict in
the society which is divided because of some cultural differences. According to
Nicolaysen (2008), the quintessence of consociationalism is the achievement of
compromise and cooperation of all the conflicting groups. The main advantages
of this theory are the absence of coercive measures and better results in
comparison with the other methods. Despite the opinions of the critics of this
theory, consociationalism remains as one of the effective ways of resolving
conflicts between certain groups inside the country.    

Application of the
consociationalism theory to Northern Ireland case

order to realize why the first attempt of power-sharing in Northern Ireland was
not successful, we need to apply consociationalism theory to this case. The
application of theoretical knowledge will be helpful to understand which
component or condition was absent and thwarted the power-sharing process. Let’s
consider the favorable conditions suggested by Lijphart (2002) and determine
which of them existed in Northern Ireland in 1970s. The condition of the
country with small territory and population is fulfilled as Northern Ireland
had the total area of 14130 square kilometers and its population was
approximately one and half million. The condition about the absence of a big
number of groups also existed as there were only two groups which struggled
between each other. The other conditions, in my opinion, were absent which
decreased the chances of effective power-sharing. For example, there was not a
common external menace as Loyalists did not consider Great Britain as the
threat. Moreover, Loyalists were the majority group and had more social and
economic power. The population of the group of Catholics was not equal to the
number of Protestants and the latter ones prevailed. The country also did not
have the past experience of the attempts of power-sharing. Thus, all of these
factors triggered the failure of power-sharing and the confrontation between
the groups continued.

            If we
analyze these conditions in 1998 we can observe that there were some changes.
Of course, the conditions that were fulfilled in the 1970s remained the same as
the number of conflicting groups did not change and there also were not any
extreme alterations in the total population of Northern Ireland. However, some
conditions that were absent in the 1970s arose in 1998. For example, the
attempt of power-sharing in 1973 can be considered as the previous experience
for the country. Moreover, the balance of power between the groups was more or
less restored as Republicans got the help of the Republic of Ireland and Libya.
The other reasons for the success of the second attempt of power-sharing were
the war-weariness of the conflicting sides which were absent in the 1970s and
their unwillingness to spill blood in vain. The newly established government of
1998 had all the peculiarities of consociationalism. The members of both of the
groups recognized the new government and Loyalist and Republicans were proportionally
represented in it. Additionally, the conflicting parties realized that the
accommodation is the only possible way to solve this conflict as they failed to
solve it with the help of military actions. Thus, Northern Ireland learned from
their previous mistakes and finally succeeded in the implementation of

Power sharing
practice in other countries

Ireland was not the first or the last country where the consociationalism was
applied. One of the first countries where this approach was successfully used
was the Netherlands.   There were three
main issues, namely the social problem, the problem with the right to vote and
the issue regarding schools which caused the cleavage in the society and was a
direct threat to the peaceful life of the nation. The different religious
beliefs also were one of the main factors that led to the division of the society.
This division was so strong that the communication between the members of
different parts of the society was minimal. Despite all these factors, the consociational
strategy was the right to tool to stabilize the situation and get rid of the violence.

also used consociationalism as the way to resolve their inner problems. The
division of the society was caused because of the several reasons including
class, religious, and ethnic ones. The main conflicts were between Catholics
and the holder of other religious beliefs, higher and lower strata of the
society and the citizens who spoke French and the ones who spoke Dutch. The
factors dividing the society were so strong that they could hardly be exposed
to any changes. Each part of society was self-reliant and wished to avoid the
interaction with other groups. Nevertheless, all these difficulties were not an
obstacle to successful implementation of consociationalism and Belgium was
provided with the viable democratic government that was ensured with the
constitutional guarantees.

Lanka also had an attempt to apply the consociational theory, but it did not
bring any yields. The main issues between the conflicting groups were the
religion and the language. The representatives of the first group were mainly
Buddhists and spoke the Sinhala language while the other group consisted of
Hindus who spoke Tamil. The clashes between these groups resulted in deaths of
hundreds of persons, injuries, damage to the property of people, and their
displacement. Of course, there were some reasons for the failure of
consociationalism in Sri Lanka. The main reason is the absence of most of the
conditions that were suggested by Lijphart (2002). According to Zuhair (2008),
the territory of Sri Lanka was five times more than the territory of Northern
Ireland and its populated was even 10 times more. Moreover, Sri Lanka did not
have the experience of power-sharing and was not permeated with the spirit of
consociationalism. The only favorable condition was the existence of only two
groups but it did not make a sense as there was no balance between the groups.
According to Zuhair (2008), the population of Sinhalese was approximately three
times more than the population of Tamils. This, in turn, caused the social and
economic inequality, which was used by Sinhalese in order to meet their
interests. So, the example of Sri Lanka showed one more time that the absence
of the favorable conditions for consociationalism decreases the country’s
chances to apply this theory and build up the democratic government with the
representation of all groups of the society.


analysis of variables and hypotheses

considering the events that took place in Northern Ireland and the application
of the consociational
theory to the case, we can analyze the variables and suggested hypotheses. The
interest of Great Britain was present in the case as the British troops were on
the side of Loyalist and supported them. The real mission of the British troops
in Northern Ireland should be the maintenance of peace and stability and stop the
cessation of skirmishes and disturbances. Some scholars such as Todd (2009) and Smith (2002) posited that there
was a collusion between Loyalists and British. It could be possible as the
British police ignored all the crimes committed by Loyalists and all their
violations remained without any punishment. The interest of the Republic of
Ireland was also present because their interests with Republican coincided and
that is why Ireland provided them both with soldiers and money. Furthermore,
the conflict between the Loyalists and Republicans indeed was complex as it
simultaneously had ethnic, religious, and political character. On the other
hand, the countries from the outside also intervened the conflict and this made
the situation more difficult. So, after the analysis of the variables, we can
surely state that they had an influence on the course of events in Northern
Ireland and the failure of the first attempt of power-sharing.

              The hypotheses which were suggested guessed
that the reasons of the failure of the first attempt of power-sharing in
Northern Ireland were the failure of the parties of the conflict to come to an
agreement and the absence of appropriate conditions for effective
power-sharing. The application of consociational theory showed that there were
several differences between the first and the second attempts of power-sharing.
In the 1970s, the conflict just started to gather momentum and not all the
appropriate conditions were formed. On the contrary, in1998 the parties got
war-wearied and there were more appropriate conditions suggested by Lijphart
(2002) that stimulated the effective power-sharing. Moreover, the other
hypothesis also has grounds as the parties of the conflict denied to share
power with the representatives of the opposite side, as they believed that it
would be possible to solve the conflict by military means. However, the further
events showed that their expectations were futile and they reached the
agreement to govern the country together in 1998.    



the comprehensive analysis of Northern Ireland case, we can state that our goal
to elucidate the processes which took place there was achieved. We have
answered the needed questions and draw several conclusions. Moreover, the
suggested hypotheses were successfully checked during the course of the
research. Firstly, we examined The Troubles and established the chronology of
the events that preceded them. It gave us the opportunity to determine the
origins of the existing conflict and get more information about the forces,
which struggled between each other, the history of their appearance, their
interests, and their objectives. Furthermore, we became evident that some
external forces that were driven by their personal motives tried to have an
impact on the situation from the outside. Afterwards, we got acquainted with
the phenomena of consociationalism and learned the opinion of different
scholars about this concept. Additionally, we determined the conditions, which
are favorable for the application of consociationalism and applied the
consociational theory to the case of Northern Ireland which helped us to check
which of the conditions existed in our case. Finally, we regarded the countries
which had the problems of the cleavage in the society as well and analyzed how
these countries applied consociational theory in their practice.

conclusion, it would be pertinent to mention that our hypotheses were truthful.
Indeed, both of the parties of the conflict were against power-sharing in the
1970s as Republicans continued to cherish the hopes of joining the Republic of
Ireland and establish United Ireland while Loyalists wanted to remain as a part
of the UK. The second hypothesis also was truthful as the
main reason for the failure of the first attempt of power sharing and the
success of the second one was the existence of conditions that can stimulate
effective power-sharing. The research showed that the number of favorable
conditions was more in 1998 and this difference was the decisive factor.
Moreover, the conflicting parties realized that military ways to solve the
problem were futile and that power-sharing is the sole way to stabilize the
situation and achieve democratic governance. Thereby, we realized the power of
consociational theory and became convinced that this approach can solve such a
harsh conflict which lasted for several decades.