Skip to main content

Constitutional changes: Towards a possible solution to the Bosnian issue

By Ahmed Kulanić

Given the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina is politically viewed as a very complex political system, every hasty, sudden and radical reform of the current state of affairs can very easily push the country into an armed conflict again, even more brutal than the previous one. The process of constitutional change must first of all be based on several key principles that the Venice Commission has put forward a long time ago, and in light of the implementation of the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, respecting the order the judgments were passed. Therefore, constitutional changes are an obligation of domestic politicians, but with regard to the role of the international community in the creation of the current constitution, its involvement in the whole process is inevitable, and must take place in several stages. Amendments to the electoral law as such should be a secondary process based on the new BiH Constitution. It is very difficult and even unimaginable to seek changes in the two-entity state organization at the very beginning of constitutional changes, but the insistence on the parity of the entity in terms of their administrative order and competence is inevitable. Although it may sound inconsistent, it may be that the key to the solution for Bosnia and Herzegovina lies in the fact that the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina must be additionally adjectively-legally divided (regionalized / cantonized - which is contrary to the views of citizens), but exclusively on economic grounds in which the bearer of sovereignty will be transferred from the people to the citizens, while the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina would continue to exercise their rights through the House of Peoples of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina through an instrument of vital national interest. Therefore, the rationalization of the Federation (by reducing the number of cantons), but also the cantonization of the RS, is imposed as one of the primary goals for future talks on constitutional changes. This way of internal administrative arrangement of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina would, at least, solve two main causes of post-Dayton political crises and tensions: on the one hand, the tendency or fear of unitarization, and on the other, the tendency or fear of separation. The second phase would be given to  the citizens' asking about their attitudes and opinions on the future organization of Bosnia and Herzegovina through a referendum that / and whether any of the two central levels of government (entities and cantons) should exist in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while the referendum unit has to be a whole territory Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Neglect or suppression of the constitutional changes in BiH that occurred as a consequence of the British-German initiative through the Berlin Process and its concretization in BiH through the Reform Agenda is to a great extent responsible for the emergence of the country's biggest political crisis since the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Balkan Studies Centre (BSC).

*Originally written in Bosnian language within the project "Bosna i Hercegovina i Berlinski proces: Analiza stanja ključnih procesa u BiH pred Londonsku konferenciju 2018" [Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Berlin Process: Analysis of Key Processes in BiH prior to the London Conference in 2018], Balkan Studies Center (BSC).


International University of Sarajevo - The best private university in Bosnia and Herzegovina