Power Sharing

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  • Topic: Sri Lanka, Tamil people, Tamil language
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  • Published : June 5, 2012
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Chapter 1 Power Sharing
 Power Sharing in Belgium  Belgium is a small country in Europe.  Division of Population  Flemish (Dutch speaking): 59%  Wallonia (French speaking): 40%  Remaining 1 % speak German.  In the capital city Brussels, 80% people speak French, while the rest speak Dutch.  The minority French-speaking community is economically and educationally well-to-do in comparison to the Dutch-speaking majority.  For accommodating the interests of the minority and the majority, Belgium adopted a unique system of power sharing.  The Belgian Model of Governance  The French and Dutch-speaking ministers are in the central government.  Some special laws require the support of majority of members from each linguistic group.  Many powers of the central government have been given to state governments of the two regions of the country.  Brussels has a separate government in which both the communities (French and Dutch) have equal representation.  A ‘community government’ exists. It is elected by people belonging to one language community. This government engages with the cultural, educational and languagerelated issues.  This kind of governance has prevented a civil strife between the two different linguistic communities.  Power Sharing in Sri Lanka  Sri Lanka has a diverse population with 74% Sinhala speakers and 18% Tamil speakers. Among Tamils, 13% are called ‘Sri Lankan Tamils’ and the rest ‘Indian Tamils’.  Most of the Sinhala-speaking people are Buddhist, while most of the Tamils are Hindus or Muslims. There are about 7 % Christians, who are both Tamil and Sinhala.  Sri Lanka emerged as an independent country in 1948.  In 1956, Sinhala was recognised as the only official language of Sri Lanka; thus, disregarding Tamil.  The governments followed preferential policies that favoured Sinhala applicants for university positions and government jobs. A new constitution stipulated that the state shall protect and foster Buddhism.  A feeling of...
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