- Federalism is a form of government in which power is divided and shared between the central (national or federal) government and the constituent (state or regional) governments. Individuals are citizens of both the central and constituent governments, and they elect at least some parts of both governments. A federal form of government is covenantal. This means that the authority of each level of government—central and constituent—derives from the constitution, not from the other level of government. Thus, neither level of government can take away the powers of the other.Broadly speaking, there are two types of federalism being broached to help solve the Kurdish problem in Iraq: majoritarian (also known as mono-national, nonethnic, territorial, or administrative) and ethnic (also known as multinational or pluralist). The United States is an example of the first type, while Switzerland and Canada are examples of the second type. Different variations of each model, of course, exist. In general, however, the first model tends toward greater centralization than the second.The Shiite Arabs in Iraq would tend to favor the first type of federalism because this would allow them to exercise the maximum amount of power inherent in their majority status. The Kurds, however, would prefer the second type of federalism because this would best enable them to preserve their ethnic unity and protect their political, cultural, and social existence. It also would grant them the closest thing to the independence they almost all desire but cannot now achieve given geostrategic realities. For their part, the Sunni Arabs in Iraq tend to mistrust federalism as dividing Iraq and initiating the slippery road to secession. The Sunnis also fear that federalism might leave them without any of Iraq's oil.The permanent Iraqi constitution adopted on 15 October 2005, while recognizing the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) as a federal entity within Iraq and allowing other such entities in Iraq to be created in the future, simply postponed the final decision on the type of federalism that would emerge.
Historical Dictionary of the Kurds. Michael M. Gunter.