Findings regarding the role of self-rule provisions – such as territorial and personal autonomy – and central power-sharing in preventing conflict recurrence are ambiguous to say the least. Some authors advocate the implementation of provisions granting autonomy, some find them detrimental to the peace process, and yet others propose that autonomy can be beneficial as long as it is counter-balanced with political and military power-sharing between the adversaries at the state level. To make matters even more complicated, research suggests that political power-sharing might not significantly advance peace, and attention should be rather paid to territorial and military arrangements. The argument developed in the paper proposes that the effects of self-rule provisions, central power-sharing, and the need to balance between the two depend on the overall configuration of conditions that characterise particular types of conflicts and post-conflict settings. In other words, different solutions may succeed in different contexts. To explore the environments in which such institutions are successfully adopted, and to uncover patterns across cases, the paper employs Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). The preliminary results show that while some pathways may be sufficient for prevention of war recurrence even without power-sharing arrangements, these institutions (both in their dispersive and inclusive form) do often appear in the sufficient pathways. Contrary to a common belief, autonomy in its presence does not seem to be a driver of conflict relapse, quite the opposite; it is present in many pathways to relapse prevention, regardless of central power-sharing. On the other hand, in particular contexts, the findings suggest central power-sharing can actually be detrimental and facilitate relapse. Most robustly, the results point towards the crucial role of international environment in supporting the peace-inducing effects of autonomy. An international context conducive to peace (a setting characterised by the absence of foreign governments supporting rebels and/or by extensive international engagement designed to curb the conflict) seems indispensable to positive outcomes (no relapse) while indifferent or hostile environment facilitates recurrence.
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