Edited By Florian Bieber, Magdalena Solska and Dane Taleski
11. From International State Building to Domestic Political Clientelism: The Failures of Postwar Liberalization in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Adis Merdzanovic)
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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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