Federalism and multiethnic political parties in Asia: Blending accommodation and moderation
This project aims to discover the kinds of hybrid federal designs and electoral systems that are most likely to be successful in multiethnic countries in Asia.
The resolution of conflict and accommodation of ethnic diversity through federalism is a critical contemporary challenge facing many countries in Asia (Breen, 2018). This project contributes to these efforts and other federal challenges, by providing inputs, analysis and evaluative methodologies for federal and electoral system designs that can accommodate excluded minorities, moderate extremes and help to end conflicts.
Specifically, the project aims to discover the kinds of hybrid federal designs and electoral systems that are most likely to be successful in multiethnic countries in Asia.
This project builds on earlier work on federalism in Nepal, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, and its system for conceptualising, tracking and evaluating institutional change for the accommodation of ethnic minorities. It will:
- expand the focus to include a further six countries that display federal features – Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and China
- assess and apply deliberative democracy tools, including testing the moderating effects of deliberative settings in political parties and at the local level, and by adapting ‘deliberative polls’
- test a hypothesis that a hybrid form of ethnic and territorial federalism, that encourages ethnic autonomy at the lower levels and multiethnicity in the centre, is more likely than other types to maximise political equality
Outcomes / activities
This project fills a considerable gap in the literature regarding federalism and the accommodation of ethnic diversity in Asia and contributes to federal state-building. It will contribute:
- to specific federal design questions (eg whether to recognise ethnic homelands) and options evaluations (eg the impacts of electoral systems)
- a dataset on institutional change and additional variables for each case country from 1945 to 2018
- a book on federalism in Asia, edited volume on deliberative democracy in Asia, and several journal articles on each component of the project; and
- a methodology for deliberative survey inputs to federal design problems
Breen, M., He, B. and Win, K. Z. (2018). Deliberative polling on federalism in Myanmar: Report. University of Melbourne