A “New” Legal Geography for the “Old” Cyprus Question: Regional Demarcation, Power-Sharing, and Divided Societies
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In: Contemporary Social and Political Aspects of the Cyprus Problem ; Warner J, Lovell DW, Kontos M (2016 ; Newcastle upon Tyne, UK ; Cambridge Scholars Publishing) ; The chapter introduces a new way of conceptualizing the Cyprus Problem, that of Legal Geography. He is interested in two major institutional mechanisms through which multinational federations enhance consociational participation and geographical cohesion in deeply divided societies, that is, appropriate demarcation of sub-state regions and power sharing. Ethnic- based units and consociational participation aim at fulfilling the rationale of multinational federations: they preserve territorial and political integrity, and maintain diversity by including different ethnic groups in a single federal structure. But the chapter’s main concern is the applicability of this framework to Cyprus: what might a sustainable accommodation of difference look like? Part of the answer, it argues, is to use the tools of a comparative legal analysis, thus providing experiences, proposals and arrangements useful to establishing a new constitutional design of a unified Cyprus. The chapter thus aims to reassess the use of federal arrangements, in general, and of asymmetrical federalism, in particular, when accommodating divided societies. It considers the constitutional implications of regional demarcation and power-sharing between what are now two separate ethnic-oriented polities. Socio-economic factors present a significant challenge to an ethnic-construed territorial identity, and add additional layers of complexity to the problem of governance of divided societies such as Cyprus. But this complexity also presents an opportunity to reassess the criteria for demarcation of the federal territory and the ethnically-defined units, and to create a unique common territorial identity for both ethnicities.