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Bosnia-Herzegovina's political system

October 25, 2011

Bosnia-Herzegovina has a highly complex system of government. The country of 4.6 million inhabitants has 104 ministers who collectively represent all ethnic groups.

Image: DW

How is the state structured?

Bosnia-Herzegovina is a democracy comprised of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska. Both have their own executive and legislature, but are ruled by the national government. Under the 1995 Dayton Agreement, the highest political authority in the country is held by the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Tasked with monitoring the peace process, he has far-reaching powers, including the freedom to remove elected officials, pass new laws or create authorities.

Where does the system come from?

Bosnia-Herzegovina's political situation is the result of the Dayton Accords, drawn up by the international community in 1995. The aim of the treaty was to put a stop to the war and create a basis for the different ethnic groups to live side-by-side in peace.

Bosnia and Herzegovina in brief:

Head of state: The Chair of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina rotates between three members (Bosniak, Serb, Croat) every eight months, each holding a four-year term.

Parliament: Consists of the House of Peoples and the House of Representatives.

Population: 4.6 million, of which 68 percent live in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and around 32 percent live in the "Republika Srpska".

Ethnic groups (1991): Bosniaks account for some 50 percent, Serbs for some 35 percent, Croats for some 10 percent. The rest of the population belongs to one of 17 officially recognized minority groups, most of which adhere to either the Muslim, Orthodox or Catholic faith.

Author: Michaela Führer / tkw
Editor: Sumi Somaskanda

Source: German Ministry of Foreign Affairs