Bosnia and Herzegovina:CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES WITHOUT CITIZENS' SUPPORT!

Posted in Europe | 27-Mar-06

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 has carried out a research into the public opinion in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) . The citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina were also asked whether they supported the accession to the EU and NATO. The most interesting sections from the comprehensive survey are given below:

Following the signing of the interparty agreement on constitutional amendments by the leaders of seven political parties (SDS-Serbian Democratic Party, SDA-Party of Democratic Action, HDZ-Croatian Democratic Union, SDP-Social Democratic Party, SNSD-Alliance of Independent Socialdemocrats, PDP-Party of Democratic Progress and HNZ-Croatian People's Union) on 18 March 2006, the IFIMES International Institute carried out a research into the public opinion in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in terms of the citizens' support to the proposed constitutional amendments and their attitude towards the accession of BiH to the EU and NATO.

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: March 23 to 24, 2006
• Degree of reliability: 95%
• Control: per 10% specimens
• Standard deviation: +/- 3
• Territory: Bosnia and Herzegovina (Republic of Srpska, Federation of BiH, Brcko District)

1. Do you support the agreed constitutional amendments in BiH which were signed by the leaders of SDS, SDA, HDZ, SDP, SNSD, PDP and HNZ on 18th March 2008?

- YES 29,30 %

- NO 59,80 %

- NO OPINION 10,90 %

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: March 23 to 24, 2006
• Degree of reliability: 95%
• Control: per 10% specimens
• Standard deviation: +/- 3
• Territory: Bosnia and Herzegovina (Republic of Srpska, Federation of BiH, Brcko District)

2. Do you support the accession of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the EU?

- YES 63,40 %

- NO 24,30 %

- NO OPINION 12,30 %

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: March 23 to 24, 2006
• Degree of reliability: 95%
• Control: per 10% specimens
• Standard deviation: +/- 3
• Territory: Bosnia and Herzegovina (Republic of Srpska, Federation of BiH, Brcko District)

3. Do you support the accession of Bosnia and Herzegovina to NATO?

- YES 52,10 %

- NO 32,30 %

- NO OPINION 15,60 %

At the beginning, eight political parties participated in the talks and negotiations on the constitutional amendments in BiH. Eventually, the Party for BiH withdrew from the negotiations. Most of the negotiations/talks on the constitutional amendments were held in secrecy, far from the eyes of the public. No public discussions nor debates on constitutional amendments, which are common practice in democratic societies, were organised.

The IFIMES International Institute believes that the basic aim of constitutional amendments should be the creation of a functional state of BiH and its accession to the Euroatlantic integrations. The existing administrative regime in BiH with two entities – the Republic of Srpska and the Federation of BiH as well as the Brcko District – hinders the development of the state. Although the Dayton Peace Agreement ended the war in BiH (1992-1995), the fact is that it lost its function the moment it was signed and the war was stopped.

The IFIMES International Institute is of the opinion that the key issue of constitutional amendments is the regionalisation of BiH, taking into account the geographic, historical, communicational, demographic and other criteria. The proposed constitutional amendments are, on the contrary, oriented towards the consolidation of the existing situation and the affirmation of the ethnic principle in BiH. The constitutional amendments should enable the state of BiH to focus on the citizens regardless of their ethnic, religious, political or other identity.

Ljubljana, March 27, 2006

International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) – Ljubljana

Directors:
Bakhtyar Aljaf
Zijad Becirovic, M.Sc.

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