How does the idea of Power Sharing emerge? Explain different forms that have common arrangements of power sharing.


Points to Remember

The concept of shared political power has come into existence in response to the ideas of absolute political authority.

Power-sharing arrangements in modern democracies can take many different shapes-

  1. Horizontal Distribution of power - organs of the govt , i.e., the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary.
  2. Vertical Distribution of power - levels of the govt , i.e., in the hierarchy of higher and levels of different levels- National, State, and District.
  3. Among different social and cultural groups - ethnic and linguistic communities.
  4. Among political parties, pressure groups, and movements.

Answer to be written in the exam

Emergence of the idea of power-sharing:  

  • The idea of power-sharing has emerged in opposition to the notions of undivided political power .
  • For a long time it was believed that all power of a government must reside in one person or group of persons located in one place. 
  • It was felt that if the power to decide is dispersed, it would not be possible to take quick  decisions and enforce them, but these notions have changed with the emergence of democracy.  

Forms of Power Sharing:

A. Among Different Organs Of The Govt-

  • When the power is shared among different organs of the govt - that is, the legislature, executive, and judiciary, it is called a horizontal distribution of power. Horizontal because - allows different organs placed at the same level to exercise different powers. 
  • This separation is important to ensure that none of the organs exercise unlimited power . Each organ checks the other.
    For example- the judges are appointed by the executive, they can still check the functioning of the executive or laws formed by the legislature. This cross-check arrangement is also called- a system of checks and balances .

B. Among Different Levels Of The Govt-

  • When the power is divided among the government existing at various levels in a hierarchical form , it is called a vertical division of power. - a national government as well as provincial or regional governments. 
  • Such a national general government is typically referred to as the federal government.

C.Among Different Social Groups-

  • The distribution of power among different social groups such as the religious or linguistic groups is practiced to avoid cultural conflicts and ensures harmony among these groups.
  • Constitutional and legal arrangements to empower weaker sections in many countries are represented in the legislature and administrations.
  • Many nations have representatives in their legislatures and executive branches that support constitutional and legal provisions that give power to weaker groups.

D. Among Political Parties, Pressure Groups And Movements-

  • Arrangements for power sharing are also evident in the way political parties, pressure groups, and movements affect or control those in power.
  • Different political parties belonging to different social groups and ideologies necessitate the need for power sharing to function effectively.
  • When two or more parties create an alliance to run in elections, this type of sharing can occasionally be direct. They establish a coalition government and share power if their alliance wins an election.

Finally, power may also be shared among different interest groups such as traders, businessmen, industrialists, farmers, and industrial workers- these groups hold a significant stake in the govt either through-

  • Continuous participation in the govt committees.
  • Creating impact in the decision-making process.

Horizontal and vertical forms of power-sharing - Teachoo.png

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Davneet Singh

Davneet Singh has done his B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He has been teaching from the past 14 years. He provides courses for Maths, Science, Social Science, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science at Teachoo.