Federalism has been used increasingly as a tool of conflict resolution in states that have faced violence between different groups. Countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Iraq and Nepal have introduced federalism in order to hold divided societies together. Yet, while there is a growing body of literature on the use of federalism in post-conflict societies, overall, the empirical evidence on the usefulness of federalism as a tool to overcome violence and lay the foundations for democracy remains mixed. In some countries, such as Bosnia and Nepal, federalism has contributed to the end of violence. However, in countries such as Iraq, and Sudan (after 2005), the introduction of a federal system has been linked with ongoing instability and further calls for secession. This chapter looks at the factors that make federalism work, and outlines a future research agenda on the use of federalism as a tool of conflict resolution.
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