Division of Powers in Federal States

In systems with multiple levels of government, the question of how to divide powers among institutions is of critical importance. Which rights are afforded to which level of government and how is the relationship between the various levels structured? The division of the government into different levels is a basic feature of federal systems. Although most unitary states are also organised into various levels (e.g. “counties” in the UK or “départements” in France), as a rule, only federal states have subordinate levels with constitutionally documented and guaranteed powers.

Although there is not yet any generally accepted definition of the term federalism, it is commonly agreed that it involves a guaranteed division of powers between a central government and member states as well as the involvement of member states in the legislation of the central state. This overview discusses the following questions: How are powers divided in federal states? Which powers are typically under central, subnational or local control? What criteria and principles are used to allocate powers within federal systems? How can the successful division of legislative powers contribute to conflict regulation and satisfying minority interests?

political system power

Power Sharing for a United Syria is a project run by the European Centre for Kurdish Studies. In Power Sharing for a United Syria, we work on three main pillars Capacity building and dialogue workshops, Policy advice, and Transparency. 
In Power Sharing for a United Syria, we regularly organize workshops on constitutional law and the writing of a constitution with members of the Syrian opposition and Syrian civil society. On one hand, Our Advisory Board supports in particular members of the Small Group of the Constitutional Committee to anchor minority rights as an important part of human rights in the constitution. We want to build bridges between the different members of the opposition and representatives of civil society. Moreover, we want to support them in developing mutual positions regarding power-sharing, minority rights and women’s rights. On the other hand, in order to increase the transparency of the Syrian Constitutional Committee (SCC) and its work, we publish, among other things, video clips covering various topics related to the constitutional process.

This topic is discussed more in detail in our full article. Unfortunately, it is available only in German or Arabic.