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#88: Dissatisfied Voters and No Alternative: The Unchallenged Position of Political Elites in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ashley W. Hooper
European Centre for Minority Issues
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In February 2014, violent protests erupted in Tuzla and quickly spread to multiple other Bosnian cities, including Mostar and Sarajevo. Initially, the protests were labeled as the “Bosnian Spring,” a term used to describe a state that is undergoing revolutionary change; however, this term was used prematurely in the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina and by April the protest movement had completely lost momentum. The cause for dissatisfaction among citizens was driven by nearly a decade of political stagnation. The lack of political progression can largely be attributed to the legacy of the Dayton Peace Agreement, which brought an end to the ethnically driven atrocities. However, the agreement also formed a uniquely complicated governmental structure based on ethnicity—providing a political framework in which elites are able to evade accountability. Political competition has been greatly decreased by the continued presence of wartime-ethno parties, which dominate the political discourse—perpetuating fear and mistrust among the electorate. I argue that there is a crisis of democratization halting the political progression and European integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina caused by a lack of both political accountability and competition.

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