Ethnicity and the elusive quest for power sharing in Guyana

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4 Scopus citations


Beginning in 1961 there have been repeated calls in Guyana, one of the most ethnically divided societies, for either modification or abolishment of the Westminster model, in particular its winner-take-all and government-opposition component, and its replacement with a consociational power sharing model; but after almost five decades, a power sharing government has not materialized. This paper examines the various proposals and initiatives to tease out their content, the motivation behind them, the discourse they spawned and the possible reasons for their failure to evolve into actual power sharing governments. The paper makes four major arguments. First, there has been a general desire for national reconciliation, mainly on the part of civil society actors and parties that embrace multiethnicity as a guiding philosophy. Second, while the major political parties have supported power sharing in principle, they have been reluctant to embrace it fully when in office. Third, political parties have been reluctant to subordinate their agendas and programs to a common national agenda. Fourth, although some political actors support the need for ethnic unity and peace, they have been reluctant to relinquish their fidelity to some core tenets of liberal democracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-355
Number of pages23
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations


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