The state is one of the most problematic issues which humanity lives through the history of its development stages of various classes, especially after the birth of the European capitalist system in the fifth century with developments in the structures of institutions and social structures resulting from the imposition of production methods with exploitative nature excellency. The shape of the State has developed rapidly in the last two centuries and has brought with it various moral, political and social consequences, which have led to the birth of differentiated studies of their status and importance to the organization of public life. Among these studies, there has been a tendency to defend the state in a series of research and studies that pertain to the concept of the state. If there are political and social schools that tend to underestimate the state, they have not been able to achieve significant developments in the process of reducing the role of the state and its influence in public life.
Despite the control of schools that have the tendency to defend the state system, which had the support of economic decision centers and financial pressure groups, but they did not agree on a specific form of the state, so there were various forms of the modern state and ranged mainly between the simple state, centrally managed through a narrow authoritarian system, and a complex state characterized by a two-level authoritarian system called the federal state.
The birth of the federal state was only a political and scientific model to reduce the negative consequences of the totalitarian system of the state, which engulfs almost all the social, economic and political life of the ruling elites through an integrated system of plans, programs and policies, to be an applicable response to the anti-state philosophy. It could be a gradual model of transition to non-state.
Political and philosophical data in the 21st century confirm the emergence of imbalances in the totalitarian nation-state system, which forcefully decompose itself by proposing and building alternative models. Perhaps, the federal model of the state is the most applicable model in the various geographies globally, in light of the success of the experiments established in previous decades.
First: What is the federalism?
It is a term of Latin origin. Some linguistic problems arise when this term is used, because the language and its meanings provide a simple general description of this concept or term that is great importance in various fields of life. Studies show that the concept of federalism has not been agreed by scholars in politics and law issues.
Understanding this term requires research in its origin to show its truth and its linguistic connotations and then terminology. There are two terms in this field, Federalism and Federation, and there is a difference in meaning. Federation refers to the philosophical and ideological side, which is the federal principle, while federalism means institutional organization and the establishment of the federal system. The federal political system between groups of different affiliations or the same group, but within a broad geography in order to achieve social, economic and political justice through the distribution of powers and not limited to the center.
It should be noted that there is no agreement among western jurists on the federalism term associated with the system of state and corresponding to Federal State term, as there are those who consider it a constitutional union, or the treaty state.
Discrimination is very necessary in order to distinguish between the federal system, which is based on a variety of foundations. The most important of these are the various political foundations for determining the form of state institutions, not the importance of the ethnic, sectarian and political differences of the country, which may lead to the collapse of the state system, as a result from its neglect to catastrophic situations, and appears to be coherent due to the lack of political and social complexities, that is one of the characteristics of federal systems, but in fact, it reflects only the exercise of power in more centralized ways.
Generally, federalism is an expression of agreement between two or more parties to achieve joint administration of two or more authorities. As, it is in its Latin origin (Foedus) means an agreement between two parties or more (Treaty) or compact, alliance or contract. Which means, that the origin of the word depends on the building of relationships and trust bridges between the parties in order to build a system of government that serves the interests of all relevant components. It can therefore be seen that “federalism” is generally applied in countries with cultural diversity without attention to its territory or countries with large areas, making it difficult to manage centrally.
The importance of the federal system in the case of cultural diversity is greater than that of geographical expansion. In the second case, there may be consistency in cultural affiliations, for example in the case of Argentina. In the former case, there may be differences in affiliations, like (Belgian and Swiss).
Federalism has two main reasons:
The first is federal identity, a federalism that is applied between two or more national groups, distinctly culturally, linguistically, religiously or otherwise, which have common denominators in the interest. This makes it necessary to take into account the importance of distinguishing among the different components within a single state, and seeks to activate its role in building the state that serves all its components, in addition to cuts the way to internal conflicts that may eventually lead to fractures among components, which may make it possible to return to the state of compatibility and acceptance of some to some.
The second is federal of competence. This state of federalism occurs in the case of cultural harmony in the country, as well as the expansion of its geographical areas. There is a desire to improve democratic representation and accountability by decentralizing authority and granting local residents greater control over resources and policies, while maintaining unity and the ability to act with national policy issues. The following examples are cited: Germany, Argentina, United States of America.
Federalism is the answer to solving many dilemmas
There are many reasons for building federal systems, which in general constitute the foundations for institutional building and co-existence among components. The most important reasons can be identified as follows:
A – Federalism solves the problems of size and diversity
– Size: If democracy means the rule of the people, it can be exercised both within the state and without a state. In the latter case, the people must organize themselves institutionally away from the domination of the ruling regimes, and away from the will of the state, which leads to the restriction of many practices and behaviors to the central authorities, so leads to the marginalization of the role of the people. The importance of federalism is clear in establishing of democracy under state systems. The simple state (non-federal) marginalizes the role of the people, turning it into tools used in the elections and in the circumstances of external threats; no matter how established the rules of democratic practice. It will not rise to the level of democratic practice in the federal state on the effectiveness of residents of areas away from the capital in public life in various manifestations, because of its distance from the decision center in the capital. So, the federal state offers a more democratic model of the state than the simple offer in this area. They do the role of citizens throughout the geography of the State through local administrative institutions with almost complete powers at the local (regional) level.
In general, regional institutions in federal systems are of a political nature, i.e. they have broader powers than those granted to local administrations. This gives the quasi-political and economic independence of the regions and local governments, and in turn leads to a more positive impact of public policies through which services are provided to society.
– Diversity: It is difficult under national state control, if not impossible, to grant the rights of ethnic, religious, linguistic and other cultural groups. Therefore, the most appropriate solution to this dilemma under the conditions of State sovereignty is to establish a federal system that reflects the desire of these groups to be recognized as peoples with a distinct identity and special interests. The federal system allows it to exercise true self-government through institutions state, territory or province, while participating in certain functions with other groups through federal or national institutions. These rights are rooted by the adoption of a federal constitution that meets the aspirations of distinct groups to secure their right to recognize their distinct personality and to exercise all policies that realize that right.
B – Federalism establishes the force from collecting the powers and share
Throughout history, there has been a series of links among some small states to counter the dangers of external forces. Some of these ties were led by one of the major powers. A kind of political subordination, in order to work together in accordance with policies agreed by its delegates, not through their parliaments. These alliances or ties did not rise to the level of federalism, because they could not develop coordination at the level of depth. States have found their way into federal systems, even if they have not explicitly stated this. As, it was in the United States of America, where the state of inter-state unification developed through the adoption of a new federal constitution to achieve inter-state cohesion, although the states enjoyed much independence on many different issues, including political ones.
Federal systems have spread across the globe to achieve more democratic transformation, thus bringing about the interdependence of the various components. The federal level can be expressed in the national government, the central government or the federal government, and local governments can be launch a group of names, such as the states of (the United States of America, Australia, Malaysia), or territories like (Belgium, Italy, Iraq), or cantons (Switzerland) or territories (Austria).
C – Other advantages of Federalism
There are a group of other features of federal systems that cannot be overlooked or underestimated politically, economically, socially and culturally. The most important of these advantages are in the following:
Federalism is the basis of pluralism: for the federal system to be effective, it must establish the concept of pluralism to achieve power-sharing among national institutions that protect diversity and eliminate absolute power
2. Expanding power-sharing rule: Federalism allows political groups that are minorities (at the federal or national level) to control the power at the state or district level. This can have a beneficial effect in promoting political participation and balance of power in countries, where one party is controlled. The broader rule of power at local levels also provides greater opportunities for women, ethnic minorities, the poor and other population groups that have traditionally been slightly represented in the elections to government positions.
3. Enhancing innovative and practical approaches to policy development:
Federal systems opens opportunities for policy-making for local units to meet their needs, allowing regions and provinces to create innovative local policies. It may not be applicable at the national level. This means that the fragmentation of policies depending on the regions leads to the activation of their role by removing the negative impact of centrally placed policies, which are more likely to be disproportionate to the particular circumstances of each region.
4. Reducing the burden of central authority:
The federalism distinguishes the powers of the center over the regions and allows the center to reduce the burden of centralized power and seek to address strategic issues more efficiently by giving them more time and possibilities.
5 – Division of the country’s resources geographically:
Central governments typically concentrate resource revenues in the capital and then decentralize them, leading to increased geographical imbalance. While, federalism ensures a fairer distribution of resources through the distribution of revenue by adopting rules of justice between regions and provinces.
6. Developing democratic capacity and responsibility:
The federal system, through its institutions in the regions, provinces and states provides a great service to citizens. Through the provision of training opportunities that contribute to the development of their different skills as a result of providing opportunities for the widest popular circle to contribute to decision-making in public life, quite the opposite of what is the case in a simple central state that has all its policies concentrated in the capital, which reduces the chances of participation of the remote from the capital in the various resolutions, except for their contribution to affiliations and referenda .
Second: the federal state
A federal state is created as a result of a process of union among a group of regions, states or provinces that co-exist without separation, or may arise from the division of the administrative and political system of a single state into regions, states or provinces with relative administrative and political autonomy, The central side accepts the ingredients for each other. Federalism, in its broad sense, means “the movement of distinct human groups towards a progressive movement leading to the reconciliation of two contradictory directions, between self-interest on the one hand and belonging to the organization collective agreement. So, federalism is based on human groups in common goals in a progressive manner that serves all components of society, while respecting their characteristics. It also achieves the process of concordance between two fundamental contradictions in the simple state: self-interest on the one hand, and the neglect of the characteristics of other components shared in geography itself, and the importance of belonging to a collective organization that is achieved among the common components of geography, politics and culture.
Based on this fact, we can say that the federal state is a model that seeks to improve human relations, in addition to make a limit to the political and cultural issues with the accompanying military and humanitarian consequences in the simple state.
Some have also defined the federal state as a global political system with two levels of government that governs the same geographic region and the same population.
This definition puts us in a position where we understand that the federal state is the state in which there is more than a governmental level of the society will itself, and within the geography itself. There is therefore a sharing of powers between the two levels of government. This definition has some mystery about the concept of a federal state, especially in determining how power is shared between government levels.
Therefore, it is necessary to look for more accurate definitions of the federal state, in order to remove some of the mysteries. Perhaps, the following definition is the most appropriate to clarify the points due to them in the legal and conceptual structure of the federal state. It has been defined as “one state with multiple constitutional entities, each with its own legal system, its own independence. As a whole is governed by the federal constitution as its source and regulated for its legal and political stability, thus constituting a complex constitutional and political system”.
This definition expresses the concept of the federal state more clearly and carries the connotations of a democratic multi-level constitutional system by dividing the state into multiple entities, each with its own legal system based on the specificities of that entity. All the legal systems of the constituent entities of the state meet in a federal constitution, in which the specificities of the states of the provinces and cantons are clearly articulated and respected by explicit terms that emphasize the importance of co-existence.
Based on the above, we see that the federal state is a form of modern state that believes in the rights of all its components through the distribution of powers among those components by adopting a dual constitutional system, one that regulates public life in all fields at the federal state (central).
Here, we must focus on the development of local constitutions first, and then move on to the preparation of a central constitution based on local constitutions, as this guarantees the distribution of power across the constituent geography of the state in a way that protects everyone.
How does a federal state arise?
Whatever the form of federalism, the ways of its arising have only two methods: the way of disintegration of simple states into complex states with multiple constitutional entities and different from each other, combined with the link to a central constitution (Federal), the method of accession or integration of simple states, and the renunciation of each part of the sovereignty in favor of the fledgling system.
Method 1: Dissolution of the simple state into a complex state
In this way, the simple state governed by a central authority in the capital, based on the one-level constitutional system, becomes a composite state with a two-tier constitution. One that establishes the foundations of regulation and administration at the state, provincial and district level, and the second connects local administrations and central administration. The legal basis for foreign policies is that the state remains unified, but the administrative authorities vary according to the specificities of the components, or according to the geographical distribution of states, territories and cantons. Many federations have been established in this way like, Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, the Argentine, Mexican and Belgian Federations.
The motivation of federalism
The most important motive for the establishment of a federation based on disintegration is trying to protect the territorial integrity of the country and its people through the achievement of a just distribution of power among the various components of the country. If there are contrary views, they are merely views that are limited to comprehensive documents of certain components that seek to monopolize all State revenues and their authoritarian system at the expense of others.
Method 2: Integration of simple states and territories into a complex state
A group of independent states integrate into one another, as a result of their agreement to live together under a federal constitution governing all aspects of life among them. It was founded by a group of federal states, such as the United States of America, the former Soviet Union, Canada, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and South Africa. The experience of the Soviet Union has witnessed the collapse of its federal system, although the relations among its members have remained well developed in the post-collapse period, in order to minimize the negative effects of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the second-largest world power of the Cold War, Between the end of World War II and the beginning of the last decade of the twentieth century.
There are many reasons for countries to form federal systems among themselves. The most important of these are: the desire to live together because of factors such as religion, customs and language, as well as the existence of common economic interests. Whatever, the motives for states to establish a federal model, it can be agreed that these motives in general are to strengthen the political, economic and social positions of the countries that decided to live together according to the federal model, which means that if they gave up some of their sovereignty in favor of the new system, it would be more powerful and expressive of their reality as a result of the accumulation of power factors among them.
The realization of the reality of global developments and the conflicts associated with each stage of development, and the difference in the nature and mechanisms of conflicts according to the changing interests of the world’s dominant powers and their absorptive policies, confirm that the twenty-first century has greatly exceeded the age of national conflicts, as well as it gradually paves the way for building federal state systems that enjoy the flexibility of their legal system, despite its complexity.
Dr. Ahmed Yousef