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Illiberal and authoritarian tendencies in Central, Southeastern and Eastern Europe


Edited By Florian Bieber, Magdalena Solska and Dane Taleski

Even though the democratic decline has been deemed a global phenomenon, the question of how it manifests itself in the postcommunist world and how it varies across different regions with divergent levels of democratic consolidation has not been sufficiently addressed yet. This book tries to fill the gap and examines the causes and nature of the deteriorating quality of democracy in Central Europe as well as the reversal or stagnation of democratization processes in Southeastern and Eastern Europe. The political elite plays a key role in initiating legislative changes that may lead to democratic backsliding. Its constant commitment to the rule of law and to the practice of selfrestraint in securing the independence of judiciary and the rights of political opposition appears hence indispensable for sustainable liberal democracy.
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11. From International State Building to Domestic Political Clientelism: The Failures of Postwar Liberalization in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Adis Merdzanovic)


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Adis Merdzanovic

11.  From International State Building to Domestic Political Clientelism: The Failures of Postwar Liberalization in Bosnia and Herzegovina

More than two decades after the Dayton Peace Agreement brought an end to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the country is far from actually being a liberal democracy. Liberal principles such as independent courts, accountable and transparent governance, or the rule of law in general are constantly eroding, while illiberal and proto-oligarchic tendencies centred around individual leaders of ethno-nationalist parties prevail. This chapter shows that the origins of the contemporary situation may be traced back to the postwar democratization and liberalization processes, in which structural conditions as well as domestic and external actions allowed for the subversion of liberal democratic principles. It explores the social discontent with the prevailing conditions by analysing the large-scale protests that erupted in the country in 2014. Even though they ultimately failed, the protesters’ demands for social justice and governmental accountability beyond ethnic patronage networks may contain the seeds for a reformed Bosnia and Herzegovina in the long term.

Keywords: Bosnia and Herzegovina, consociationalism, democratization, Europeanization, European Union, illiberalism, liberal democracy, postwar elites, postwar parties


From the outset, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) may seem something of a peculiarity in the Western Balkans. Historically, it was the only Yugoslav republic that consisted not of a titular nation but of three nations that were accommodated through a set of political and...

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