Promoting Democracy in Post-Conflict Societies

Building democratic institutions in Afghanistan

Afghanistan's new constitution promulgated in January, 2004, lays the foundation for a state based on Islamic values and democratic principles. The country is now faced with the challenge of making the provisions of the constitution a reality and reconstruct political institutions after a period of 23 years of internal conflict. Afghanistan's answer to the challenge of institution-building in a post-conflict society is mainly based on past experiences, e.g. the constitution of 1964, and some new features are being added due to the developments since then. Out of the democratic principles, four are being looked at in this paper: Equality, division of power, power-sharing, and pluralism. They are considered crucial elements for institutions in post-conflict societies to gain popular support and legitimacy in order to overcome a climate of mutual distrust and suspicion that results from the period of conflict.


Werner M. Prohl


Berlin, April 18, 2004