Consociationalism, democracy and discrimination : the prospects for constitutional reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Consociationalism is frequently adopted as a tool to resolve conflicts in deeply divided societies. It is increasingly considered only a transitional arrangement, because it is an impediment to democracy and social peace in the long-term. It is relevant to explore what the possibilities to end consociational arrangements are. Bosnia and Herzegovina has by all accounts a dysfunctional and discriminatory political system based on ethnic representation. Corporate consociational provisions of the constitution have been found to be in violation of the European Covention of Human Rights in the Sejdić and Finci case. This thesis seeks to understand the legal and political effects of that judgment and the prospects of ending the corporate consociational arrangements in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in order to allow for politics that are not only based on ethnicity. The prospect for constitutional reform are discussed based on previous attempts at constitutional reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina; the Dutch, Austrian and South African experiences; and insights from theory of democratic transitions. Keywords: Bosnia and Herzegovina, consociationalism, constitutional reform, democracy, discrimination, Sejdić and Finci.