B-H constitutional changes without citizens' support!
by IFIMES survey
The International Institute for Middle-East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) in Ljubljana, Slovenia, regularly analyses events in the Middle East and the Balkans. On the occasion of the conclusion of the interparty agreement on constitutional amendments, which was signed by the leaders of seven political parties (SDS, SDA, HDZ, SDP, SNSD, PDP and HNZ) on 18 March 2006, IFIMES carried out a public-opinion survey in Bosnia-Herzegovina B-H citizens were also asked whether they supported accession to the EU and NATO. The most interesting sections from the survey are given below:
Data on the sample:
• The sample: random, three-stage
• Size of the sample: 1.544 respondents (male and female citizens of lawful age)
• Methodology: telephone survey
• Period: 23-24 March 2006
• Degree of reliability: 95%
• Control: per 10% specimens
• Standard deviation: +/- 3
• Territory: Bosnia-Herzegovina (Republika Srpska, Federation of B-H, Brcko District)
1. Do you support the agreed constitutional amendments for B-H that were signed by the leaders of SDS, SDA, HDZ, SDP, SNSD, PDP and HNZ on 18 March 2008?
- YES 29,30 %
- NO 59,80 %
- NO OPINION 10,90 %
2. Do you support the accession of Bosnia-Herzegovina to the EU?
- YES 63,40 %
- NO 24,30 %
- NO OPINION 12,30 %
3. Do you support the accession of Bosnia-Herzegovina to NATO?
- YES 52,10 %
- NO 32,30 %
- NO OPINION 15,60 %
Initially eight political parties participated in the talks and negotiations on constitutional amendments in B-H, but subsequently the Party for B-H (SBiH) withdrew from the negotiations. The talks were mainly held in secret, far from the public eye. No public discussions or consultations on the constitutional amendments - which are common practice in democratic societies - were organised.
IFIMES believes that the basic aim of constitutional amendments should be the creation of a functional state of B-H and its accession to the Euro-Atlantic integration processes. The existing administrative regime in B-H with two entities – Republika Srpska and the Federation of B-H, together with Brcko District – hinders the development of such a state. Although the Dayton Peace Agreement ended the 1992-95 war in B-H, the fact is that it lost its functionality the moment it was signed and the war was stopped. IFIMES is of the opinion that the key issue for constitutional amendment is the regionalisation of B-H, taking into account geographic, historical, communicational, demographic and other criteria. The proposed constitutional amendments, on the contrary, are oriented towards consolidation of the existing situation and affirmation of the ethnic principle in B-H. Constitutional amendments should enable the state of B-H to focus on citizens regardless of their ethnic, religious, political or other identity.
Ljubljana, 27 March 2006
International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) – Ljubljana
Director: Bakhtyar Aljaf