Territorial self-governance and proportional representation: reducing the risk of territory-centred intrastate violence

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After decades of scholarship, there is still little agreement about the usefulness of territorial self-governance in managing territory-centred conflicts. We argue that the effectiveness of territorial self-governance as a tool of territory-centred conflict management increases when combined with a proportional representation (PR) electoral system for the national legislature in basically open political regimes, but not when combined with a parliamentary form of government at the centre. We propose that the combination of territorial self-governance and PR in at least minimally democratic regimes has most conflict-reducing potential, as both institutions follow a logic of widening the input side of representative politics. We find empirical support for this proposition using binary time-series cross-section analysis is found. Our findings highlight the need to consider not just the number but, more importantly, the type of power-sharing institutions that are combined with each other when looking for ways to reduce the risk of territory-centred intrastate violence.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
JournalTerritory, Politics, Governance
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2020


  • conflict, electoral system, power sharing, territorial self-governance