Political Laws and Ethnic Accommodation: Why Cross-Ethnic Coalitions Have Failed to Institutionalize in Afghanistan
Mobasher, Mohammad Bashir
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Afghanistan suffers from an ethnic-based and fragmented party system. Although some cross-ethnic coalitions have emerged, especially during the presidential elections, these coalitions have failed to survive across elections and branches of government. As for what explains the failure of the consolidation of coalitions, some scholars pointed to the SNTV system and others to the presidential system. This study examines all related institutional designs, including the SNTV system for parliamentary elections, the runoff system for presidential elections, the presidential system, dual vice presidency, and party qualification thresholds. These systems and institutions are designed by three bodies of political laws: the Constitution, electoral laws, and party laws. Analyzing these laws and institutional designs, this study makes three observations. First, the failure of coalitions to institutionalize in Afghanistan is not due to a single political law or institutional design but due to the influence of a number of them. Second, for cross-ethnic coalitions to institutionalize, all related institutional designs must act cohesively or else they fail to incentivize coalition-building, as is the case in Afghanistan. Finally, the formation of cross-ethnic coalitions does not necessarily engender their institutionalization and by the same token an institutional design may be conducive to the formation of coalitions, but not necessarily to their institutionalization. Afghan political laws and institutions tell a story partly of success and partly of failure.
- Law