2010–12 Bosnia and Herzegovina government formation

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politics and government of
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Following the election on 3 October 2010, a process of formation of Bosnia and Herzegovina's Council of Ministers had begun. The resulting election has produced a fragmented political landscape without a coalition of a parliamentary majority more than a year after the election. The centralist Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the largest party in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Bosnian Serb autonomist Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, the largest party in the Republika Srpska, each have 8 MPs of the total 42 MPs of the House of Representatives (28 from FB&H and 14 from RS). Similarly, a crisis of government is also present at the local levels, as well as the Federal entity.

As of late 2011, the government has been solved, however the country remains in a situation of perpetual political crisis, especially the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

After months of dysfunction, and arguments about legality, the short-lived Government of the Federation had collapsed in February 2013.


Sejdić and Finci v. Bosnia and Herzegovina[edit]

In 2009, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the ineligibility of minorities other than the country's three constitutional peoples to run for the House of Peoples or the Presidency was discriminatory. Parties have failed to agree on how to change the current electoral system.[1]

National census[edit]

Bosnia and Herzegovina has held one official national census since 1991 while still a part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and prior to the Bosnian War. This census was held in 2013, but the results have not been published due to debates regarding how to classify the ethnic groups. Holding a census is a condition for the country's EU membership.[2]

Local crisis[edit]

The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina had a similar crisis due to tha fact that the Bosniak coalition had unilaterally formed a government without the Croat majority. One third of the votes in 17-member Croatian Group of the deputies was needed to form a cabinet. Despite receiving only 5 votes in that group, SDP formed the government. After the Central Electoral Commission issued a ruling in March 2011 declaring election of the president of the federation (and his deputies) and forming of the government illigal, the High Representative Valentin Inzko suspended CEC's two rulings.[3] He thus allowed Bosniak SDP to form the government in the Federation without Croatian representatives, taking HSP as a minor Croatian party as its coalition partner. Croatians held protests and Croatian politicians rejected the unconstitutional and illegitimate authorities of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[4] "5≠17÷3" became the motto of many Croat protests.[5]


Chairman of the Council of Ministers[edit]

The major Croat (HDZ and HDZ 1990) and Serb parties (SNSD and SDS) contend that a gentlemen's agreement exists in which the chairmanship of the Council of Ministers rotates between the three constitutional nationalities. In this case, it would be the turn for a Croat politician to chair the council. As the Croatian Democratic Union and the Croatian Democratic Union 1990 received the overwhelming share of Croat votes in the 2010 elections, the parties have demanded that a member of one of the parties receive the position of chairman. SDP on the other hand, claims that the only necessity is the ethnicity of the individual, and not the party, demanding the right to appoint a Croat PM from the SDP ranks, calling upon the right of having assumed most votes nationwide.

EU funding[edit]

The government of Bosnia and Herzegovina must agree as to how funds available through the EU's Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance will be divided between the national government, the Federation, and Republika Srpska.[6]

Government formation talks[edit]

The European Union and the Office of the High Representative have repeatedly attempted negotiations to appease the Bosniac-Bosnian and Serb-Croat divided political blocs, in parallel to the Bosnian constitutional crisis, all ending in failure. The peaks of the crisis were the moves of the Serb entity to schedule a referendum against the OHR, which were left later on. The Bosniac-Bosnian coalition insists that the seat will have to go to them as the party that received the largest number of votes, while the Serbian-Croatian alliance insists that due to the fact that according to tradition the next Prime Minister must be an ethnic Croat, it must come from an authentic Croat party (Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina), and not the non-national SDP.

Slavko Kukić, a Croat member of the Social Democratic Party, was nominated for chairman in July by the country's presidency. Croat and Serb parties subsequently voted against the nomination. Although he received a majority of votes in the House of Representatives, he failed to receive the necessary 2/3 majority of votes from the Republika Srpska representatives.

On 1 September 2011 Peter Sørensen was appointed European Union Special Representative, replacing Valentin Inzko.

A round of talks between party leaders was held in Mostar on September 5 hosted by Croat politicians Božo Ljubić and Dragan Čović, with Milorad Dodik, Mladen Bosić, Sulejman Tihić and Zlatko Lagumdžija in attendance. The parties agreed to a further round of discussion in mid-September.[7]

House of Representatives seats by party

A meeting between the six major party leaders was held in Sarajevo on September 15, hosted by Zlatko Lagumdžija.[8] Topics discussed at the meeting included holding a national census, military assets, and the Sejdić-Finci ruling. On the same day, an EU spokesperson warned that the country risked losing funding through the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance if the political situation did not stabilize.[9] Another meeting on 26 September 2011 failed, as well.[10]

Coalition groups

An agreement was finally reached on 28 December 2011 between the six political parties: the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the Party of Democratic Action(SDA), the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HDZ), the Croatian Democratic Union 1990, the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS), and the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats(SNSD). The PM will be Vjekoslav Bevanda, a Bosnian Croat.[11][12]

See also[edit]