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The Quest for Institutional Reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Written by Marius Søberg, this article appeared on the fourth issue of Vol. 22 of East European Politics & Societies in the fall of 2008.
 
This article investigates the quest for institutional reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement. Reform does not take place in a vacuum and the successful reform of the Bosnian polity is dependent on public support. Public demands for reform are likely to be influenced by how the current institutions are believed to be functioning and by the public support for the current institutional set-up as such. Still, the demands for alterations by the political elites of the different national communities highlight a continuing lack of consensus. Although the Constitution allows for a revision, the political room for such changes is limited, and the challenge remains to provide adequate degree of autonomy of national groups without diminishing the quality of democracy. The need to differentiate between the protection of legitimate national and minority rights and unacceptable nationalist demands emerges as a challenge with no easy solution.

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