Prof. Dr. Mirko Pejanovic
Former member of the Presidency of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-1996)
Full Professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Sarajevo
President of the Serb Civic Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina – the Civic Movement for Equality
Member of the Council of the IFIMES International Institute
THE STRUCTURE OF THE STATE OF BOSNIA AND
HERZEGOVINA BASED ON THE DAYTON PEACE AGREEMENT
In November 1995, a peace agreement was reached in the American town of Dayton which stopped the four-year war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The war started in April 1992 when Sarajevo was under siege and shelled by Karadžić's Serbian forces aided by the Yugoslav national army after the citizen's referendum was carried out on the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina and after the state was internationally recognised.
Many perceived the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina as an interethnic conflict between the three autochton nations of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats. However, the war incorporated the elements of classical aggression by the Belgrade (Milošević) regime which wanted to prevent Bosnia and Herzegovina from achieving national independence so that it would remain a part of rump Yugoslavia, i.e. Milošević's »Great Serbia« (that is why Milošević did not recognise the AVNOJ republic borders in the Yugoslav socialist federation). To realise this goal the Serbian forces occupied 70% of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina by mid-1993 and carried out ethnic cleansing of non-Serb inhabitants form Eastern Bosnia, Posavina, Bosanska Krajina and Eastern Herzegovina. 2.000.000 inhabitants were removed from their homes or places of living of all together 4.400.000 inhabitants according to the 1991 pre-war census. This course of war showed a clear tendency to exterminate the Bosniak nation as the most numerous of the three nations of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Such announcement was made in October 1991 in the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Karadžić who was then president of the Serbian Democratic Party. The war could only be stopped with the interference of the international community. The announcement of a peaceful solution was made in 1995 under the American guidance lead by Richard Holbrooke who took the initiative on behalf of the USA to find a peaceful political solution. After NATO strikes on Karadžić's forces in Summer 1995 the conditions were established for the peace negotiations in Dayton.
What did the Dayton Peace Agreement actually enable? The Dayton Peace Agreement is marked as the general framework peace agreement between the conflicting parties. The Agreement contains four main segments:
the war segment
the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina (as Annex IV)
the segment on the return of refugees (Annex VII)
the segment on the establishment of democracy and democratic institutions in the society of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
There are several important implications which the Dayton Peace Agreement enabled:
The four-year war was ended
The integrity and international legal status of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina are preserved
The Constitution was adopted as the constituent part of the Dayton Peace Agreement which serves as the basis for the internal organisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina as the state with two entities and with central institutions
The protection of human rights was established according to international standards
International guarantees were provided for the return of refugees
The implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement is based on the principle of he involvement of the international community forces, both military and civil ones. The military forces are the NATO forces and the civil forces are represented by the High Representative of the International Community who is at the same time the supreme authority for the interpretation and implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement.
Regarding the question what the Dayton Peace Agreement brought to Bosnia and Herzegovina, two predominant opinions appear in the theoretical and other discussions. The first argues that the Dayton Peace Agreement resolved the issue of the war by stopping it and that it created the basis on which Bosnia and Herzegovina can restore internal integration, build democratic institutions, strengthen peace and join the Euro-Atlantic integrations.
The second argues that the Agreement divided Bosnia and Herzegovina on ethnic basis since the ethnic principle became dominant in the internal organisation and functioning of the state. Bosnia and Herzegovina therefore became a nonfunctional and expensive state (Bosnia and Herzegovina is a state with 13 parliaments and governments: 10 cantonal, two entity and one of the state). Two thirds of GDP are allocated for public expenses - the administration.
The discussion about the above two polarised opinions gave rise to the idea of upgrading the Dayton Peace Agreement in order to provide the basis for establishment of a functional organisation of the state as in the EU Member States. However, this idea is still far from a consensus both in the international community and in the political sphere of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
THE BASIC ELEMENTS OF THE POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT OF BOSNIA AND
HERZEGOVINA IN THE POST-DAYTON PERIOD AND THE RESULTS OF THE 2002 ELECTIONS
The Dayton Peace Agreement was the framework for the political development of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the post-war period. During the past eight years Bosnia and Herzegovina distanced itself from the war's reality but it has still not found the answers to the major questions of economic and social development.
During the first post-Dayton years, the basic issues related to the life and security of the citizens were dealt with. Those issues were the freedom of movement and the reconstruction of infrastructure. Bridges, water supply, schools, hospitals, electricity supply network, telephone network and transport were reconstructed. The donations of the international community were certain and substantial. Bosnia and Herzegovina received $ 5 billion of donations from the international community. Most of the funds were invested in the infrastructure and the reconstruction of the settlements for the returned refugees. However, no investments were made in the reconstruction of the economy. The investments were not possible without prior privatisation of the state property and state companies (privatisation started in 1997 and has not been completed yet). The process of privatisation is very slow. Even after several years of the process, major companies such as Energoinvest, Krivaja, Sodaso and Hidrigradja have still not been privatised. According to the estimations of economists, Bosnia and Herzegovina will achieve its pre-war level of production only in 2010. Unemployment is the most burning social and development issue in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The rate of unemployment is 40% (in comparison with Slovenia where the rate of unemployment is 13%).
The issue which essentially affects the political development in the post-Dayton period is the issue of the return of refugees and displaced persons to their pre-war places of living. The return of refugees at the same time represents the reconstruction of the pre-war multiethnic structure of society in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the establishment of European and international standards for the protection of human rights. If the refugees and displaced persons have the right to return their property and if there is security and economic basis for the reconstruction of living conditions, it is the sign that the rule of law and the protection of citizen rights are respected.
The idea of the return of refugees had been obstructed by the leading political structures until the High Representative introduced special property provisions in 1998 which protect the right of the citizens to return their property: apartments, houses, land, business premises.
During the first post-war years the return of refugees represented a political instrument for three leading national parties: SDS (Serbian Democratic Party), HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) and SDA (Party of Democratic Action). An ethnic note has been attributed to the return of refugees. In the Republic of Srpska, the SDS discouraged the Serbs from returning to the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and at the same time prevented the Bosniaks and the Croats from returning to the territory of the Republic of Srpska. The HDZ discouraged the Croats from returning to the Republic of Srpska and to towns in central Bosnia. In the Neretva valley, settlements called »Šuškova sela« were built for the Croats. The SDA advocated ethnic reciprocity and agreed to the return of the Serbs to Sarajevo, Tuzla and other towns in the number at which the Bosniaks were able to return to Banjaluka, Foča, Zvornik and Višegrad. The international community has gradually reduced the donations, especially since 2000, when its attention was redirected towards Kosovo.
According to available information, 900.000 refugees returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1996 to 2003. Most refugees returned to the areas where the ethnic population to which they belong represents the majority. During the same period, 100.000 citizens of Serbian nationality returned to the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and more than 100.000 Bosniaks and 10.000 Croats returned to the Republic of Srpska. This figures are still of merely symbolic value in relation to the real reconstruction of the pre-war ethnic structure in Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, there are several other issues related to refugees. Firstly, several hundred thousands citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina (about 700.000) applied for the citizenship of the state where they were living as refugees.
Secondly, the returned refugees have no economic basis for survival, especially not in towns. The property is therefore being sold and a new wave of emigration of young people to the European and overseas countries has started. According to the estimations about 150.000 young people with finished education emigrated from Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1996 to 2003.
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS DURING THE POST-DAYTON
PERIOD IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA COMPRISES SEVERAL CHARACTERISTICS
The international community paid most attention to the organisation and realisation of the elections of public authorities. The first post-war elections were carried out in 1996 and the majority in the parliaments was won by the ethnic single-national SDS, HDZ and SDA parties. Those parties could not reach a consensus on any important issues in the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The decisions on the coat-of-arms, the flag, the bank note and car plates were made by the OHR - High Representative of the International Community.
The 1998 elections brought no changes: the national parties were still predominant. Only the 2000 elections brought a change in the political structure of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The parties of the democratic changes lead by the largest opposition force, the Social Democratic Party, formed the Alliance for Change and on the basis of majority formed the government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Council of Ministers in the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Alliance was in power for two years. During that period, three projects of immense importance for the political development of Bosnia and Herzegovina were realised:
accession of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Council of Europe was achieved
State Border Service was formed to control the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina
discrimination on ethnic basis was abolished with the adoption of the constitutional amendment on the constitutiveness of the nation for the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Srpska
parallelism was achieved in the exercising of power by SDA and HDZ.
However, the Alliance did not succeed in carrying out the economic reform which the citizens expected. It failed to stop the growth of unemployment. It failed to create the environment for foreign investments. It did not carry out the privatisation of large companies. It failed to stop the corruption. This further disappointed the voting body, especially the youth. At the elections in October 2002, the voting body (the citizens) in a way punished the Alliance for Change by failing to appear at the elections. Only 53% of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina took part at the elections. They further punished the Alliance by giving their votes to the national parties. The most votes were given to SDS in the Republic of Srpska and to SDA and HDZ in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This reflected in a way the situation from 1990 and 1996 when the elections for the seats in the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina were won by three national parties: HDZ, SDS and SDA. At the 2002 elections, the candidates of national parties were elected as members of the Presidency: SDA – Sulejman Tihić; SDS – Mirko Šarović; HDZ – Dragan Čović (Šarović was replaced by Borislav Paravac from the Serbian Democratic Party in 2003 by the decision of the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina).
The majority in the entity parliaments and the parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina was formed consensually by three ethnic parties: SDS, HDZ and SDA. In the formation of the parliamentary majority after the 2002 elections, the Party of Democratic Action was joined by the Party for BiH and the Serbian Democratic Party was joined by the Party of Democratic Progress.
58 parties took part at the 2002 elections. The structure of elected deputies to the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina is as follows: There are all together 14 parties with candidates elected to the Parliamentary Assembly (Table IV). The most (10) seats were won by the Party of Democratic Action. 10. The Party for BiH is at the second place with 6 seats. The Serbian Democratic Party and Croatian Democratic Union have 5 seats each, the Social Democratic Party has 4 seats and the Independent Social Democrats of the Republic of Srpska have 3 seats. The Party of Democratic Progress has 2 deputies and 7 minor parties have one seat each in the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
CHARACTERISTICS OF PARTY PLURALISM IN THE
POST-DAYTON PERIOD OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
In order to understand the main features of political pluralism in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the period after the Dayton Peace Agreement it is necessary to look back at the time when political pluralism was introduced in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The single-party system was abolished in 1990 when political parties were formed in Bosnia and Herzegovina which were to take part in the first multi-party elections held in November 1990. In contrast to the other former Yugoslav republics where the parties were formed on the basis of ideological and political criteria as the right-, central- and left-wing parties, two blocks of political parties were formed in Bosnia and Herzegovina: The first block comprised the national, i.e. single-ethnic parties: the Party of Democratic Action, the Serbian Democratic Party and the Croatian Democratic Union. These were new parties without any encumbrances from the past. They showed more characteristics of movements than of parties. The structure of membership was based exclusively on the citizens' nationality.
The second block comprised the non-national parties. They had one common characteristic: they were citizen's parties. Their membership and expression of interest was based on a free citizen, therefore on citizens of all national groups. Citizen orientation and multinational composition were the main characteristics of the citizens' parties block. Another but not primary characteristic of these parties was their ideological and political adherence to the right, central and left wing. Since 1990 this group has included the Social Democratic Party, the Party of Reformers, the Democratic Party of Socialists, the Liberal Party, the Muslim Bosniak Organisation, the Citizen Democratic Party and other parties. These parties were totally defeated at the first multi-party elections in 1990 when over 80% of votes were given to the single-national HDZ, SDA and SDA parties. In December 1990 the three parties with absolute majority formed the government and the structure of power. In this way in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the population throughout the territory is ethnically mixed, political pluralism with an ethnic note was legally established (through free elections). Political adherence coincided with national adherence. Since then ethnic political pluralism started to develop in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which led to political opposition and conflicts of ethnic parties in the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The coalition union of the three national parties, though not confirmed and signed through an agreement, started to disintegrate already during the first year of its power. That was the year 1991 which was marked as the historical turning point for the political development of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the dissolution process of SFRY. In that year, decisions were made by the two opposing political options on the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina while the Yugoslav socialist federation was dissolving. On one side there were political forces which favoured the option of the independent political development of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the realisation of citizens' referendum regarding this option. This group of political forces included SDA, HDZ and all citizen parties. The second option was represented by political parties which opposed the independent development of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Karadžić's SDA and Drašković's Serbian Movement for Renewal. The latter wanted to retain Bosnia and Herzegovina in rump (Milošević's) Yugoslavia, which was only a mask for the idea of the »Great Serbia«. The one-year union of the three ethnic parties disintegrated when it came to the issue of the status of the state or the independent development of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The coalition of the three ethnic parties dissolved at the beginning of 1992 when the citizens decided in a referendum in favour of independent and internationally recognised state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Serbian democratic party resigned from the Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina and started with political and military activities at Pale near Sarajevo. With its resignation from the structure of common state power of Bosnia and Herzegovina, SDA actually decided for the use of force in order to achieve its political goals which were to join the whole or most of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Serbia and Monte Negro. This political context lead to aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina and the four-year war.
Why is the beginning of the war marked as aggression? Mainly because one party (SDS), backed with the Belgrade regime, used weapons and the forces of former JNA (Yugoslav People's Army) to occupy 70% of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina by June 1992.
The period after the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement (i.e. since 1996) in a way reflects the pre-war structure of political pluralism. Three ethnic parties won the first post-war elections in 1996. The elections for members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina were won by the candidates of ethnic parties: SDA – Alija Izetbegović, SDS – Momčilo Krajišnik and HDZ – Krešimir Zubak. These parties won the majority in the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the parliaments of the Republic of Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Their term of office was marked with constant dissent of the three parties regarding any issue related to the social, economic and political development of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The real transition was exercised only in so far as it was subject of international community engagement. The meetings of elected state bodies were held in the National Museum (»Zemaljski muzej«). The SDS representatives refused to come to the centre of Sarajevo and to stay at the premises of the Presidency and the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Only at the second post-Dayton elections in 1998, new parties were formed emerging from the dissatisfaction with the national parties. A group of activists separated from the SDA and formed the Party for BiH led by Haris Silajdžić. Another group of activists separated from the HDZ and formed a new party called the Independent Croatian Initiative led by Krešimir Zubak. Biljana Plavšić separated from the SDS and with a group of followers formed the Serbian National Union. Consequently, the political monopoly of the three ethnic parties started to weaken. The union of two social democratic parties - the Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Social Democrats - along with the formation and development of the Party of Independent Social Democrats led by Milorad Dodik in the Republic of Srpska further contributed to this process.
This brought a new structure and direction of the development for political pluralism in Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the 2000 elections, the new structure of party pluralism was confirmed by the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina when most confidence was placed in the citizens' parties. Led by the largest opposition party - the Social Democratic Party - the citizens' parties were united in the Alliance for Change to form the government in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and together with some parties from the Republic of Srpska established the majority in the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina and formed the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
According to competent analysts the Alliance for Change had sound projects for the European path in the political development of Bosnia and Herzegovina and sound project for economic reforms. It managed to fulfil the conditions for accession of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Council of Europe. However, it was not decisive enough regarding the projects for economic reforms. It failed to prevent radically the processes of increasing poverty, emigration of the youth, corruption etc. The Alliance was in power for only 2 years which was too short to realise the intended projects.
Under those circumstances, a change happened at the elections in October 2002. SDS, HDZ and SDA gained again the dominant position but not with absolute majority. Namely, the social and political scene of Bosnia and Herzegovina saw the return of the parties which had failed to reach a consensus during their power in the previous decade regarding all important issues of the development of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was the High Representative of the International Community who took decisions in the Parliament instead of them.
During the first year (2003) of his term of office, High Representative Pedi Eshdaun adopted over 70 legislative and other documents. The main disagreement between the ethnic parties in 2003 was the issue of the new concept of united army of Bosnia and Herzegovina as one of the conditions for the accession of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Partnership for Peace and NATO Alliance. This concept was stubbornly refused by the Serbian Democratic Party though it eventually agreed to it in December 2003 after pressure was exerted by the international community. Bosnia and Herzegovina thus fulfilled the conditions for joining Partnership for Peace and NATO Alliance.
When the Study on the feasibility of accession of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the stabilisation and association process was made in November 2003, High Representative Pedi Eshdaun expressed his concern that the leading structure of the ethnic parties may not introduce at the required pace the European standards required for the accession of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the European Union.
A. Dayton Peace Agreement and Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Dayton Peace Agreement marked the end of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Dayton Peace Agreement established a new internal structure in Bosnia and Herzegovina with a dominant role of entities in the functioning of the state.
The functioning of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the past eight years of the post-Dayton period has shown the limitations of the Dayton Peace Agreement as regards the possibility for an efficient functioning of the state.
The European path to political development of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina envisages:
the upgrading of the Dayton Peace Agreement, amendments of the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, establishment of economic regions, transfer of competence of entities to the central bodies of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the fields of defence, security and jurisdiction (the new act on single army defence was adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the beginning of December 2003);
accelerated process of introducing European standards in the economic and political sphere with the aid of international community in the framework of accession of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the European Union. This path has prevented the great national projects for ethnic division of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the instability in the region of Southeast Europe. The European Commission has received the Study on the feasibility of accession of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Stabilisation and Association Agreement. This represents the beginning of the Brussels phase in the political development of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its accession to the European Union and the conclusion of the process of the internationalisation of the Bosnian issue.
B. Characteristics of party pluralism in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the post-Dayton period
A stable development of democracy in a society primarily depends on the capability of political parties to establish a consensus on the economic, social and cultural progress of the state.
Pluralisation of the political sphere in Bosnia and Herzegovina was carried out in 1990 contrary to the modern concept of political organisation in the countries of West Europe: the basis for party organisation was not the citizen but his nationality.
Instead of forming political-interest parties of citizens in the form of right, left and central parties, the block of ethnic parties and the block of citizens' parties were formed in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Instead of political pluralism, ethnic pluralism was established in Bosnia and Herzegovina which in itself (territorialisation of powers of ethnic parties) generates unstable political development of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
During the past twelve years of party pluralism, ethnic parties won four out of five parliamentary elections. They hold a monopoly in the economy and the media and are supported by the religious communities. They carry out the territorialisation of power.
The abolishment of ethnic democracy and the weakening of national parties which during the whole decade failed to offer a consensus on the national development of Bosnia and Herzegovina involves:
modifications of the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and abolition of the predominant ethnic basis in the internal structure of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina (while the democratic forces in 2003 advocate a reform of political system and the adoption of a new constitution, Borislav Paravac, member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina from SDS, responds with a notion of separation of the Republic of Srpska from the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina).
providing more support from the international community to the block of citizens' parties and to their striving for internal integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its accession to the Euro-Atlantic institutions (in November 3003 a united block of opposition parties was formed composed of two parties from the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina: SDP and NHI and two parties from the Republic of Srpska: SNSD and SP). This was the first attempt for united action of opposition forces from the two entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina with an adopted platform for programme co-operation.
One of the constant problems of the development of political pluralism in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the fragmented political sphere with 58 parties.