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Bosnia and Herzegovina - Prime-minister and 500 Ministers

Last modified: 2003-07-05 by dov gutterman
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Translated From Tjednik, Zagreb, 1 March 1997:

How does the goverment in Bosnia and Herzegovina function
The Primeminister and five hundred ministers

In the last five years over two thowsend citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina had the ID of a member of parliament, some five hundred were ministers, and a two dozen primministers and presidents of states. Of course, just a small number of those represented a state that was internationally recognized in the spring of 1992, while others were officials of quasi-states, of which the shortest life had the Authonomous Region (just for a few days - Replublic) of Western Bosnia, while the Croatian Republic (Community) of Herceg-Bosnia and the Republic of Srpska lasted until the signing of the first international juridical arrangements for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Then the Croatian quasi-state was abolished by the will of the West, and the Serbian became in Dayton one of the states as a part of the integral Bosnia and Herzegovina, which, on the other hand, in signed agreements is not defined neither as confederacy (as it is sometimes entitled by Western media), nor as union (as it is all the time named by media of Republic of Serpska), so that the Bosnians got the chance to live in an absolutly rare country, at least considering that, contrary to 99 percent of the members of the United Nations, is not defined in the official name neither as republic, nor kingdom, nor principality, but is plainly called Bosnia and Herzegovina.

That country consists of two territorially almost identical parts that are, on the other hand, politically constitued in totally different ways. While the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is divided into cantons (or counties) as their federal parts, the Republic of Srpska is a unitary state. Out of this difference comes the fact that the Federation today has much more different ministers and Members of parliament in federal and cantonal parlaments, and consequently the system of decision-making in this Bosnian entity is far more complex. All the decisions that are made on federal level, in parliament, government or president-vicepresident, are subject to national (ethnical) veto, so that on the state level (the Federation is in the Constitution of 30 March 1994 defined as a "state in Bosnia and herzegovina") it is not possible to make any single decision that would not be opposed by one of the sides. Beside the fact that with this it is hard to imagine that the state would function (especially in a situation when it comes out of focus of the international community), it subvents eternal rule of those parties that are in power now in the Federation, since the constitution of the state institutions is made in such a way that the bypassing of the national concensus does not provide fuction to any political or civil mode of the functioning of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The effective function of the goverment is possible only in cantons (which also have their parliaments, governments and presidents, i.e. governors) which are practically the areas where the national leaderships could flourish uninterupted (although none of the cantons or counties can not determined by the name of a major nation). Therefore, while in the Federation the national concensus is brought to absurd, in the cantons the national rights are defined as the rights of the minorities. However, today the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina has more than five hundred Members of parliament (both federal and cantonal), ministers (again both federal and cantonal) and deputies of ministers which trough the institutions of the system, and by the national key, are blocking every decision, and even those that are obviously in common interest. The federal institutions are in this way getting a decorational caracter, while the real political decisions are made on the level of the ruling parties (SDA and HDZ), which, of course, are not under international arbitrage and systematical decision making. It seems a bit absurd, but HDZ and SDA are in a way incited to form new institutions of quasi-states.


translated and posted by Zeljko Heimer, 2 March 1997