Politics of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Politics of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Benedict (Viktor) Gombocz
Location: Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Croatia Area Total: 51,197 sq km Country comparison to the world: 129 Land: 51,187 sq km Water: 10 sq km Area – comparitive: Slightly smaller than West Virginia Land boundaries Total: 1,538 km Border countries: Croatia 932 km, Montenegro 249 km, Serbia 357 km Coastline: 20 km
Muslim (Sunni): 40% Orthodox: 31% Roman Catholic: 15% Other: 14%
Government: Federal democratic republic High Representative: Valentin Inzko Presidency members: Nebojša Radmanović, Ţeljko Komšić, Bakir Izetbegović Prime Minister: Vjekoslav Bevanda Legislature: Parliamentary Assembly Upper house: House of Peoples Lower house: House of Representatives
The politics of Bosnia and Herzegovina function in a structure of a parliamentary representative democratic republic; the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina heads the government and a multi-party structure. The government exercises executive power and legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament. Parliament members are selected according to a proportional representation structure. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The form of government set up by the Dayton Accord is an example of consociationalism, because representation is by leaders who represent the nation’s three main ethnic groups (Bosnians, Croats, and Serbs), of whom all have an assured distribution of power. Bosnia and Herzegovina is split into two Entities – the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska, each with largely self-governing political authority, as well as the district of Brčk, mutually governed by both entities; both entities has its own constitution.
As a result of the Dayton Agreement, signed on 14 December 1995, Bosnia and Herzegovina has an international province, with crucial authority given to the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina. It maintained the external border of Bosnia and made a joint multi-ethnic and democratic government; this national government – based on proportional representation similar to that which existed in the former communist régime – is charged with overseeing foreign, economic, and fiscal policy. The Dayton Agreement established the Office of the High Representative (OHR) to manage the implementation of the civilian characteristics of the government; the OHR employs almost 250 international and 450 local staff affiliates.
The High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the chief executive officer for the global civilian existence in the country, is the highest political power. The Bosnian equivalent of a European president, the individual holding the post of High Representative has been able to bypass the elected parliamentary assembly and/or discharge elected officials. The techniques chosen by the High Representative are frequently seen as a dictatorship; even the icons of Bosnian statehood, i.e., flag, coat of arms, have been selected by the High Representatives, not by the Bosnian people. The source of the power of the High Representative is effectively contractual; his consent draws from the Dayton Agreement, as confirmed by the Peace Implementation Council, an ad hoc body with a Steering Board consisting of delegates from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK, the United States, the European Union’s presidency, the European Commission, and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
The Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Chair alternates among three different affiliates (one Bosniak, one Serb, one Croat), all of them elected for an alternating term of 8 months within their term of four years as affiliates of the presidency. The Presidency’s three affiliates are directly elected by the people with Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina voters electing the Bosniak and the Croat; the Republika Srpska voters elect the Serb. The members of the Presidency serve as the heads of state and their primary duties are foreign policy and planning the budget. The Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Chairman is appointed by the Presidency and confirmed by the House of Representatives; she/he is immediately charged with naming a Foreign Minister, Minister of Foreign Trade, and other ministers as needed. The Council’s duty is conducting a range of policies in the areas of diplomacy, economy, inter- Entity relations and other issues, as agreed by the Entities; each of the Entities has its own Council of Ministers, which handle internal issues the State Council does not handle.
MAIN OFFICE HOLDERS SINCE Valentin Inzko, High Representative 26 March 2009 Ţeljko Komšić, (Croat) Member of the Presidency (Social Democratic 6 November 2006 Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina) Nebojša Radmanović, (Serb) 6 November 2006 Member of the Presidency (Chair) (Alliance of Independent Social Democrats) Bakir Izetbegović, (Bosniak), 4 October 2010 Member of the Presidency (Party of Democratic Action) Vjekoslav Bevanda, Prime Minister 12 January 2012 (Croatian Democratic Union)
Past international high delegates: Carl Bildt, Carlos Westendorp, Wolfgang Petritsch, Paddy Ashdown, Christian Schwarz-Schilling, and Miroslav Lajčák. Affiliates of the Presidency who resigned under pressure from the Office of the High Representative: Mirko Šarović, Ante Jelavić, and Dragan Ĉović; Alija Izetbegović likewise resigned from the Presidency. In February 2000, the Supreme Court ruled that the Council of Ministers’ structure was illegal; a new system is being negotiated. Federation president and VP in 1999: Ejup Ganić and Ivo Andrić-Luţanski. Past RS presidents: Radovan Karadţić, Nikola Poplašen, Mirko Šarović, Dragan Ĉavić, and Milan Jelić. On 5 March 1999, RS president Nikola Poplašen was discharged by the OHR.
The Parliamentary Assembly (Parliamentarna skupština) is Bosnia and Herzegovina’s chief legislative body and it contains two chambers: The House of Peoples (Dom naroda) The National House of Representatives (Predstavnički dom/Zastupnički dom) The Parliamentary Assembly’s tasks are: passing legislation as needed to apply decisions of the Presidency or to perform the duties of the Assembly under the Constitution. deciding upon the sources and quantities of incomes for the operations of the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and global commitments of Bosnia and Herzegovina. approving the budget for the institutes of Bosnia and Herzegovina. deciding ratify treaties and agreements. other issues as are required to conduct its responsibilities of as are assigned to it by mutual agreement of the Entities. Until 2001, Bosnia and Herzegovina lacked a lasting election law; when a lasting election law was put in place, a draft law identifying four-year terms for the state and first-order administrative division entity legislatures. On 9 September 2001, the final election law was passed and made public.
The House of Peoples is grouped of 15 representatives who serve for two years. Two-thirds of those representatives come from the Federation (5 Croats and 5 Bosniaks); one-third comes from the RS (5 Serbs). Nine affiliates of the House of Peoples make up a quorum, providing that a minimum of three representatives from every group are present. Federation delegates are chosen by the House of Peoples of the Federation, a 58-seat house (17 Bosniak, 17 Croat, 17 Serb, and 7 others) whose affiliates are represented by cantonal assemblies to serve for 4 years. The 28-affiliate Republika Srpska Council of Peoples, established in the Republika Srpska National Assembly, pick RS delegates; every component nation has eight representatives and “others” have four representatives.
The House of Representatives is grouped of 42 affiliates; two-thirds of these affiliates are elected from the Federation to serve four-year terms (14 Croats and 14 Bosniaks), while one-third of these affiliates are elected from the RS (14 Serbs). Federation affiliates come from the Federation House of Representatives, with 98 seats, whose affiliates are elected through popular vote to serve four-year terms. RS affiliates come from the RS National Assembly, an 83-seat assembly whose affiliates are elected through popular vote to serve 4-year terms.
Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Socijaldemokratska partija Bosne i Hercegovine, SDP BiH) Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (Савез независних социјалдемократа , СНСД) Savez nezavisnih socijaldemokrata, SNSD) Party of Democratic Action (Stranka demokratske akcije, SDA) Serbian Democratic Party (Српска демократска странка, СДС; Srpska Demokratska Stranka, SDS) Union for a Better Future of BiH (Savez za bolju budućnost BiH, SBB BiH) Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Hrvatska demokratska zajednica Bosne i Hercegovine, HDZ BiH) Croatian Party of Rights of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Hrvatska stranka prava Bosne i Hercegovine, HSP BiH) Democratic People’s Alliance (Демократски народни савез, Днс ;Demokratski Narodni Savez) Party of Democratic Progress (Партија демократског прогреса, ПДП; Partija demokratskog progresa, PDP) Democratic People’s Union (Demokratski narodni savez, DNZ) Croatian Democratic Union 1990 (Hrvatska demokratska zajednica 1990, HDZ 1990) People’s Party Work for Betterment (Narodna stranka radom za boljitak, NSRzB)
The Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the highest, final authority of legal concerns. It is made up of nine affiliates: four affiliates are chosen by the House of Representatives of the Federation, two by the RS’s Assembly, and three by the President of the European Court of Human Rights after consultation from the Presidency. Unless initial nominees resigned or are dismissed for cause by accord of the other judges, their terms are 5 years; once they are nominated, judges are not entitled to reappointment. Judges subsequently nominated will serve in their posts until the age of 70, unless they resign or are discharged for cause. Nominations made 5 years after the original nominations may be ruled by a different law of selection, which is decided by the Parliamentary Assembly. The Court’s occurrences are public, and decisions will be issued. Rules of court are taken on by a majority of the Court, and decisions are final and obligatory. The Constitutional Court’s original power lies in determining any legal quarrel that arises between the Entities or between Bosnia and Herzegovina and an Entity or Entities. Such quarrels may be referred only by an affiliate of the Presidency, by the Chair of the Council of Ministers, by the Chair or Deputy Chair of either chamber of the Parliamentary Assembly, or by one- fourth of either Entity’s legislature. The Court also has appellate control within Bosnia and Herzegovina’s territory.
The State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina contains three divisions – Administrative, Appellate and Criminal – with control over cases concerning to state-level law and appellate control over cases commenced in the entities. In January 2005, a War Crimes Chamber was added; that chamber has currently assumed two cases transferred from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), along with dozens of war crimes cases begun in cantonal courts. The State Court also manages organized and economic crime and corruption cases; for example, ex-Presidency member Dragan Ćović is currently on trial for his role in organized crime syndicates.
The Human Rights Chamber for Bosnia and Herzegovina (Dom za ljudska prava za Bosnu i Hercegovinu) was active between March 1996 and 31 December 2003. During its brief existence, it was a judicial body created under Annex 6 to the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Dayton Peace Agreement).
Both entities have a Supreme Court. Both entities also have numerous lower courts. The Federation has 10 cantonal courts, and in addition, numerous municipal courts. The Republika Srpska has five municipal courts.
Born on 22 May 1949 in Klagenfurt; was born into a Slovene-speaking family. Austrian diplomat of Carinthian Slovene origin. Current High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina; assumed office on 26 March 2009. Was also the European Union Special Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2009-2011. His father, Valentin Inzko, Sr., was a distinguished cultural and political activist of the local Slovene minority. Attended a Slovene-German bilingual school in Suetschach (Slovene: Sveče) in the municipality of Feistritz im Rosental (Slovene: Bistrica v Rožu). After he finished the Slovene language high school in Klagenfurt in 1967, he enrolled in the University of Graz, where he studied law and Slavic philogy. Attended the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna between 1972-1974. Entered the Austrian diplomatic service in 1974. Worked as press attaché at the Austrian embassy in Belgrade between 1982- 1986; subsequently worked at the Austrian mission to the United Nations. Worked as the cultural attaché at the Austrian embassy in the Czech Republic from 1990-1996 and was the Austrian ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1996-1999. Was an affiliate of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe mission to the Sandţak region in Serbia, between October-December 1992. Was appointed the Austrian ambassador to Slovenia in 2005. Became the seventh High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina in March 2009, taking Slovak diplomat Miroslav Lajčák’s place; consequently became the second Carinthian Slovene to assume that post, after Wolfgang Petritsch, the High Representative from 1999 until 2002. Was elected chairman of the National Council of Carinthian Slovenes in June 2010. In addition to Slovene and German, he is fluent in Serbo-Croatian, Russian, and Czech; among other works, he has translated Václav Havel’s essays Living in Truth and The Power of the Powerless into Slovene. Is married to Argentine-Slovene opera singer Bernarda Fink Inzko.
Born on 13 May 1956 in Mostar. Current PM of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, since 12 January 2012. Is an affiliate of the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Graduated from the Faculty of Economy at the University of Mostar in 1979, after attending primary and high school in Mostar. Worked in an airline industry, “SOKO”, in Mostar, between 1979-1989. Worked in the “APRO” bank, also in Mostar, from 1990-1993. Worked in the “Euro Center” in Split, from 2000- 2001, and from 2001-2007 as a manager of the “Commerce Bank” from Sarajevo. Served as Minister of Finance of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina from March 2007-March 2011. Served jointly as VP of the Federal Government; prior to that, he contributed to several legislature responsibilities for the Federation.
Multi-ethnic social-democratic political party. Founded in 1990; is the successor of the League of Communists of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and was expanded by the addition of the Socijaldemokrati BiH party to the original SDP. Its current leader is Bosniak Zlatko Lagumdţija, the foreign minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Surpassed its own anticipations during local (mayoral and city council) elections held on 7 October 2012. Member of Socialist International (International affiliation) and Party of European Socialists (European affiliation).