Fakultäten » Philosophische Fakultät » Politikwissenschaft, Institut für » Prof. Dr. Daniel Kübler » Stojanovic

Completed research project

Title / Titel Ethnic Quotas and Representation of Minorities in Local Politics in Bosnia
PDF Abstract (PDF, 14 KB)
Summary / Zusammenfassung Context
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH) is a typical example of a “divided society” which has been struggling to become a viable democracy. Its electoral laws, as well as the general institutional framework, follow the “consociational model” of democracy. As a result, its governments are a product of post-electoral coalitions, multiethnic parties are rare (and rather unsuccessful), the once moderate monoethnic parties tend to adopt a more radical political discourse. Such a system, however, ensures an adequate representation of all main ethnic groups at the level of the common state. Yet problems of minority representation arise at the local level. For this reason, in the early 2000s, a number of larger municipalities adopted statutes in which they fixed quotas for a minimal representation of minorities in the respective parliaments. The quota applies, first, to the representatives of the three “constituent peoples” (Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats), and, second, to the group of “Others” (e.g., Jews, Roma, Albanians, or citizens without ethnic identity). More recently, new amendments to the electoral law introduced quotas for minorities belonging to the group of “Others” in municipalities in which such groups represented at least 3% of the local population in 1991.

The main goal of this project is to explore, both analytically and empirically, the use of ethnic quotas in the local politics of BH. We will, first, develop a theoretical model which may help to anticipate strategic reactions of political actors to the quota system. Second, we will look at the consequences of electoral laws and party strategies for the representation of ethnic minorities at the municipal level. In particular, we will investigate if and how ethnic minorities get represented. In the third part, we aim at studying how representation of minorities substantially affects their political inclusion and policy outcomes related to ethnic diversity. Fourth, we will gather data at the level of municipalities from the first free post-WWII elections in BH, which were held in 1990 and were crucial for the eventual political developments in the country. In the last part, we will analyse identity representations that are implied by the Constitution and electoral laws.

The significance of the project is twofold. First, it will deliver new data and insights into the politics of ethnic quotas in BH, which may have an impact on decision makers both in BH and in other countries of the region. Second, the project will contribute to a wider academic literature on electoral design and minority protection in divided societies.
Publications / Publikationen Weitere Informationen
Keywords / Suchbegriffe electoral design, ethnic quotas, representation, divided societies, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Project leadership and contacts /
Projektleitung und Kontakte
Dr. Nenad Stojanovic (Project Leader)
Funding source(s) /
Unterstützt durch
SNF (Personen- und Projektförderung)
In collaboration with /
In Zusammenarbeit mit
Prof. Dr. Asim Mujkic
Faculty of Political Sciences
University of Sarajevo

Together with ANALITIKA - Center for Social Research, Sarajevo.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Prof. Dr. Daniel Bochsler
Zentrum für Demokratie Aarau
Universität Zürich
Prof. Dr. Daniel Kübler
Zentrum für Demokratie Aarau
Universität Zürich

Sylvie Ramel
Université de Genève
Duration of Project / Projektdauer Jan 2010 to Dec 2013