Legislative Branch Reform: General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina

THE GENERAL FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT: ANNEX-4

Article IV: Parliamentary Assembly

The Parliamentary Assembly shall have two chambers: the House of Peoples and the House of Representatives. House of Peoples.

1. The House of Peoples shall comprise 15 Delegates, two-thirds from the Federation (including five Croats and five Bosniaks) and one-third from the Republika Srpska (five Serbs).

a.) The designated Croat and Bosniak Delegates from the Federation shall be selected, respectively, by the Croat and Bosniac Delegates to the House of Peoples of the Federation. Delegates from the Republika Srpska shall be selected by the National Assembly of the Republika Srpska.

b.) Nine members of the House of Peoples shall comprise a quorum, provided that at least three Bosniak, three Croat, and three Serb Delegates are present.

2. House of Representatives. The House of Representatives shall comprise 42 Members, two- thirds elected from the territory of the Federation, one-third from the territory of the Republika Srpska.

a.) Members of the House of Representatives shall be directly elected from their Entity in accordance with an election law to be adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly. The first election, however, shall take place in accordance with Annex 3 to the General Framework Agreement.

b.) A majority of all members elected to the House of Representatives shall comprise a quorum.

3. Procedures.

a.) Each chamber shall be convened in Sarajevo not more than 30 days after its selection or election.

b.) Each chamber shall by majority vote adopt its internal rules and select from its members one Serb, one Bosniak, and one Croat to serve as its Chair and Deputy Chairs, with the position of Chair rotating among the three persons selected.

c.) All legislation shall require the approval of both chambers.

d.) All decisions in both chambers shall be by majority of those present and voting. The Delegates and Members shall make their best efforts to see that the majority includes at least one-third of the votes of Delegates or Members from the territory of each Entity. If a majority vote does not include one-third of the votes of Delegates or Members from the territory of each Entity, the Chair and Deputy Chairs shall meet as a commission and attempt to obtain approval within three days of the vote. If those efforts fail, decisions shall be taken by a majority of those present and voting, provided that the dissenting votes do not include two-thirds or more of the Delegates or Members elected from either Entity.

e.) A proposed decision of the Parliamentary Assembly may be declared to be destructive of a vital interest of the Bosniak, Croat, or Serb people by a majority of, as appropriate, the Bosniak, Croat, or Serb Delegates selected in accordance with paragraph l(a) above. Such a proposed decision shall require for approval in the House of Peoples a majority of the Bosniak, of the Croat, and of the Serb Delegates present and voting.

f.)When a majority of the Bosniak, of the Croat, or of the Serb Delegates objects to the invocation of paragraph (e), the Chair of the House of Peoples shall immediately convene a Joint Commission comprising three Delegates, one each selected by the Bosniak, by the Croat, and by the Serb Delegates, to resolve the issue. If the Commission fails to do so within five days, the matter will be referred to the Constitutional Court, which shall in an expedited process review it for procedural regularity.

g.) The House of Peoples may be dissolved by the Presidency or by the House itself, provided that the House's decision to dissolve is approved by a majority that includes the majority of Delegates from at least two of the Bosniak, Croat, or Serb peoples. The House of Peoples elected in the first elections after the entry into force of this Constitution may not, however, be dissolved.

h.) Decisions of the Parliamentary Assembly shall not take effect before publication.

i.) Both chambers shall publish a complete record of their deliberations and shall, save in exceptional circumstances in accordance with their rules, deliberate publicly.

j.) Delegates and Members shall not be held criminally or civilly liable for any acts carried out within the scope of their duties in the Parliamentary Assembly.

4. Powers. The Parliamentary Assembly shall have responsibility for:

a.) Enacting legislation as necessary to implement decisions of the Presidency or to carry out the responsibilities of the Assembly under this Constitution.

b.) Deciding upon the sources and amounts of revenues for the operations of the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and international obligations of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

c.) Approving a budget for the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

d.) Deciding whether to consent to the ratification of treaties.

e.) Such other matters as are necessary to carry out its duties or as are assigned to it by mutual agreement of the Entities.

Implementation History

1995

No Implementation

The accord created a House of Peoples and House of Representatives. No information was available on the parliamentary assembly in December of 1995.

1996

Full Implementation

National elections took place on 14 September 1996, in which Bosnia's ethno-national parties dominated the election results. According to a news report, “the Muslim-led Party of Democratic Action took 19 of the 42 seats in the House of Representatives, which is intended to unite all three ethnic factions in a common legislative body. The hard-line Serb Democratic Party took 9 seats and the Croatian Democratic Union won 7. The balance went to smaller parties that had been in the opposition during the war.”1

  • 1. “Bosnia's Nationalist Parties Dominate Election Results,” The New York Times, September 22, 1996.
1997

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

1998

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

1999

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2000

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2001

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2002

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2003

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2004

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2005

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.