Consociationalism in the post-Dayton Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Mirsad Karić
Keywords: power-sharing, consociationalism, political elites, Bosnia and Herzegovina


This paper outlines the theoretical underpinnings of the consociational power-sharing approach and its presence in the political system of the post-Dayton Bosnia and Herzegovina. The power-sharing framework used in this study provides insights into the theory of consociationalism as a power-sharing approach and tries to contribute to our understanding of the presence and relevance of this model to the Bosnian political system. The consociational framework emphasises the role of the political elites in providing the political stability and economic prosperity in the heterogeneous societies. It has four main features: grand coalition, proportional representation, segmental autonomy and mutual veto. The functioning and performance of this model depends, to a large extent, on factors that are conducive to elite cooperation. These factors are: population size, balance of power among segments, multiparty system, segmental isolation, nature of social cleavages, overarching loyalties and tradition of elite accommodation. This paper shows that all features of consociationalism exist in the post-Dayton Bosnian political system. However, grand coalitions are always made after the elections and mainly for the distribution of positions in the executive bodies of state apparatus and without any strategic platform and goals to be achieved and accounted for, agreed in advance. Proportionality has been mainly replaced with the parity-giving rise to imbalanced representation in state institutions. Segmental autonomy has been misconceived and veto power has been used to block all legislation beneficial to the state.

How to Cite
Karić, M. 2020. Consociationalism in the post-Dayton Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnian Studies: Journal for Research of Bosnian Thought and Culture. 4, 1 (Oct. 2020), 82-107. DOI:
Political Sciences