What are the different forms of power sharing in modern democracies? Give an example of each of these.
Different forms of power sharing in modern democracies:
Horizontal division of power: It is the sharing of power among the different organs of government. The division of government into the executive, the legislature and the judiciary is an example of horizontal division of power. In such a power sharing arrangement, different organs of government, placed at the same level, exercise different powers. This separation of powers ensures that no organ exercises unlimited power. Each organ checks the others, thereby putting in place a system of checks and balances. The division of power between the Council of Ministers headed by the Indian Prime Minister, the Parliament of India and the Indian Supreme Court is an example of this kind of power sharing.
Vertical division of power: It is the sharing of power among governments at different levels — a general government for the entire country and governments at the provincial or regional level. For example, in India, the Constitution defines the way power is to be shared between the Central or Union government and the various State governments. There are certain matters on which only the Central government can take decisions, while there are others on which only an individual state government has an exclusive right for decision making.
Division of power among social groups: Power can also be shared among different groups which differ socially. The system of 'community government' in Belgium is an example of this type of power division. This government is elected by people belonging to one language community (Dutch, French and German-speaking), and has the power to take decisions regarding cultural, educational and language-related issues.
The system of reserved constituencies in India is another example.
Division of power between political parties, pressure groups and movements: Political parties are the organisations which aim to control power by contesting elections. In a democracy, citizens have the freedom to choose among the various contenders for power (the different political parties or the different alliances comprising political parties). Such a freedom of choice entails competition among the different parties, which in turn ensures that power does not remain in one hand, and is shared among different political parties representing different ideologies and social groups.
Pressure groups and movements also share governmental power, either through participation in governmental committees or by influencing the decision-making process.