“More than two decades after Bosnia and Herzegovina gained its independence following the bloody dissolution of Yugoslavia, the government there is facing yet another looming political crisis, and the West appears to be doing little to stop it.
At issue is an electoral law impasse that’s a symptom of a weak constitution that was never meant to govern a country for a significant period of time, with political power brokers who have no incentive to resolve the crisis and four foreign countries clamoring for influence.
In 1995, the Dayton Accords put a stop to the three-and-a-half-year war in the Balkans, and Bosnia still uses Annex 4 of the accords as its constitution.
Under that constitution, all places at all levels of government are allocated by affiliation to one of three groups: Croat, Bosniak, or Serb. The country, since the end of the war in Bosnia, has been divided into two federal entities. One is the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, populated primarily by Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats. The other is Republika Srpska, whose president is currently Bosnian Serb Milorad Dodik, a onetime Western darling now flirting with secession.
Political crises aren’t new in the Balkans, but a new version of an old crisis is now crystallizing. In 2016, with some Croats advocating for a third, Croat-dominated entity to accompany Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bozo Ljubic, a Croat politician, brought forward a complaint.
Previously, the House of Peoples was made up of delegates reflecting the proportion of the main ethnic groups living in different cantons, with at least one delegate from each ethnic group. Ljubic complained that this violated Dayton because appointing Croats from majority Bosniak cantons distorted Croats’ rights to legitimate representation.” (Foreign Policy)