Bosnia-Herzegovina: ten years after Dayton Cover Image

Bosna i Hercegovina: deset godina nakon Daytona
Bosnia-Herzegovina: ten years after Dayton

Author(s): Mirjana Kasapović
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences
Published by: Udruga građana »Dijalog«

Summary/Abstract: This essay consists of two large sections, the section I-II and the section III-VI; in the first section the author presents the principles of the theory of so-called consociational democracy, proposed originally by A. Lijphard in the late 1960s as a critical counterpart to the then dominating theories of democracy; such theories have not dealt with the issue of the possibility and the character of democracy in ethnically or nationally plural societies. In the second section the author applies the ideas of consociationalism to political situation and the relationships in Bosnia-Herzegovina. She draws on six famous features of political culture, six 'fundamental postulates', of consociational democratic states: Elites agree that they disagree, Summit diplomacy (the power is in the hand of elites who discuss the main issues and pass decisions at 'summits'), Proportionality, Depoliticisation, Secrecy, 'Government has the right to governi' ("the business of government" is done by a government which formally depends on the confidence of parliamentary majority, but in fact it is largely independent of it. Government in fact acts as an extra-parliamentary, or business, cabinet, and the prime minster is indeed a primus inter pares). In the second section, the author substantiates her contention that the only adequate and viable solution for the BiH would be one based on the theory of democratic consociation. In other words, the BiH could survive only if the state government were organised along the consociationalist principles. In the author's opinion, the two remaining alternatives to consociationalism in the BiH include division of the BiH and/or assimilation of the ethnic/national communities into a single people. However, the former alternative is excluded through a decision of the international community, whereas the latter is equally non-viable due to the fact that no ethnic community in the BiH is so strong or superior in numbers that it could assimilate the two remaining communities. The author claims that the principles of consociational democracy suggest that the BiH should be reorganised into a federation composed of three federal units, or of several cantons with distinct ethnic majorities. She also claims that the first condition of a self-sustainable democratic state lies in a free territorial-political organisation of the three principal ethnic communities. The BiH can't hold as a non-ethnic, or 'administrative' federation, nor its ethnic communities could rest content with a kind of "non-emotional regionalism" typical of the Western nation-states. Certainly, the state should also implement the other elements of consociational political culture and secure institutional mechanisms of a consociational democracy, such as parity, proportionality, and the right to veto. THE ARTICLE ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE MAGAZINE 'GORDOGAN' (ZAGREB), NO. 6, WINTER 2005, PAGES 32-64.

  • Issue Year: 2006
  • Issue No: 9
  • Page Range: 44 - 73
  • Page Count: 30
  • Language: Croatian