Bosnia and Herzegovina After the Elections

More than two weeks after the elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 2 October, the country’s political future remains uncertain. While reformist and moderate candidates have seen success in the run for the country’s presidency – a position that is shared between members of the Bosniak, Croat and Serb entities – many of Bosnia’s underlying political divisions persist. Causing further dispute was the announcement of significant changes to Bosnia’s constitution and electoral system on the night of the election by the country’s high representative, Christian Schmidt, which were particularly ill-received by some members of the Bosniak community. Meanwhile, Serb leader Milorad Dodik has faced allegations of vote-rigging in the run for president of the semi-autonomous Republika Srpska leading to a recount of ballots in the region.   

In this episode of War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Elissa Jobson speak with Marko Prelec, Crisis Group’s senior consulting analyst for the Balkans, about what happened at the Bosnian elections, the main dispute between Bosnia’s political entities and where the country is headed. They talk about Bosnia’s highly complicated election system and why it has been the cause of much friction between members of the Bosniak, Croat and Serb communities in the country. They address the intervention by the high representative on election night and whether this move had any merit despite being highly controversial. They also talk about the impact of the war in Ukraine on Bosnia and how it has affected its prospects for European Union accession. Finally, they assess whether the political divisions in Bosnia and Herzegovina are surmountable and how a potential return to violence in the country can be prevented. 

For more about the political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, make sure to check out Crisis Group’s Bosnia and Herzegovina country page and our briefing Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Hot Summer.

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