When parties to persistent conflicts — particularly in societies divided by profound ethnic, racial or religious differences — find that they are unable to emerge from the conflict, but seek a compromise that ensures a permanent place at the negotiating table, they can turn to power-sharing as a possible solution. Power-sharing is a term used to describe a system of government in which all major parts of society receive a permanent share of power; This system is often contrasted with systems of government and opposition, in which government coalitions alternate between different social groups over time. How can rigid structures of political power-sharing atrophy over time to such an extent that the collective security guarantees they contain are no longer necessary? This is not a purely academic issue. In Bosnia, for example, the ability of NATO`s international peacekeepers to end their occupation rests on the power-sharing capacity of the power-sharing institutions forged in the 1995 Dayton Accords – now dominated by nationalists — , blend into more moderate and ethnically mixed political institutions.  Centripetalism, sometimes referred to as integrationism, is a form of democratic power-sharing for divided societies (usually along ethnic, religious, or social lines) aimed at encouraging parties to adopt moderate and compromising policies and strengthening the center of the divided political spectrum. As a theory, centripetalism developed from Donald L. Horowitz`s critique of concordanceism. Both models aim to provide institutional revenues for divided societies. While concorddanalism aims to give inclusion and representation to every ethnic group, centripetal aims to depoliticize ethnicity and promote the formation of multi-ethnic parties.  A long-standing misconception about power-sharing options for intractable conflicts is that there is a unique formula for power-sharing, which for many years has been called “concordancealism.”  The elements of this approach to power-sharing are well known: grand coalitions, proportional representation, cultural autonomy or federalism, and the mutual veto. Yet this prototype of power-sharing is only one of the political options for resolving ethnic conflicts, the core of which can be extraordinarily different in terms of objectives, structures, and impact on promoting moderation and compromise between groups. What are the main options for power-sharing?  However, the division of power is not a panacea. In fact, some types of power-sharing systems may contain the seeds of their own self-destruction, while the search for consensus among political leaders leads to a dead end, aware that they have the right to veto government action.
In addition, some elements of the status quo will forcibly reject power-sharing, as sections of Rwandan paramilitary groups did in 1994 in opposition to last year`s Arusha Agreement, leading to the worst genocide since World War II. Power-sharing is not a guarantee of governmental stability or broader social stability. Without the sustained support of voters from rival ethnic blocs and the willingness of political leaders to practice the policy of accommodation, such a coalition could prove fragile. This was precisely the fate of the power-sharing government in Northern Ireland in 1973/4. He was overthrown by unionist and loyalist protesters who opposed the inclusion of nationalist representatives in the government. From this attitude, he draws a unique comic and literary power. In many situations, the international community is working proactively to encourage the parties to share power rather than wage war. In Afghanistan, for example, after the fall of the Taliban in the Bonn negotiations in December 2001, international mediators worked hard to ensure that the interim (now permanent) transitional government hamid Karzai was broadly representative of the major ethnic groups in this highly diverse and long-standing conflict-torn country. In Côte d`Ivoire, French mediators negotiated a pact in early 2003 to end the country`s civil war; Rebel commanders eventually accepted positions in a revamped cabinet. Conssociationalism is a form of democratic power-sharing.
 Political scientists define a state of concordance as a state that has large internal divisions along ethnic, religious or linguistic lines, none of which are large enough to form a majority group, but remain stable due to consultations between the elites of these groups. Concordant states are often compared to states with majority voting systems.  For a current assessment of the concordant power-sharing in Europe, see Ulrich Schneckener, “Making Power Sharing Work: Lessons from Successes and Failures in Ethnic Conflict Regulation”, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies, University of Bremen (Working Paper No. 19/2000). Examples from the early modern period for power-sharing are the Peace of Augsburg and the Peace of Westphalia.  The 1998 Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland is one of the famous examples of power-sharing. Overall, power-sharing agreements contain provisions relating to at least one of the following provisions: political, economic, military or territorial control.  Although this typology presents two conceptually different approaches, it is clear that power-sharing options can be put together in different ways. In deciding which power-sharing institutions and practices might work, there is no substitute for knowing exactly what a particular country is. .