Powersharing Transitional Government: General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina

THE GENERAL FRAMEWORK ANNEX 4, ARTICLE IV-V

Article IV: Parliamentary Assembly

1.  The Parliamentary Assembly shall have two chambers: the House of Peoples and the House of Representatives. House of Peoples. The House of Peoples shall comprise 15 Delegates, two-thirds from the Federation (including five Croats and five Bosniacs) and one-third from the Republika Srpska (five Serbs).

a.) The designated Croat and Bosniac 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 Bosniac, 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 Bosniac, 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 shallmake their best efforts to see that the majority includes at least one-third of the votes of Delegates or Members fromthe territory of each Entity. If a majority vote does not include one-third of the votes of Delegates or Members fromthe territory of each Entity, the Chair and Deputy Chairs shall meet as a commission and attempt to obtain approvalwithin 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 fromeither Entity.

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

f.) When a majority of the Bosniac, 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, oneeach selected by the Bosniac, by the Croat, and by the Serb Delegates, to resolve the issue. If the Commission fails todo so within five days, the matter will be referred to the Constitutional Court, which shall in an expedited processreview it for procedural regularity.

g.) The House of Peoples may be dissolved by the Presidency or by the House itself, provided that the House'sdecision to dissolve is approved by a majority that includes the majority of Delegates from at least two of theBosniac, Croat, or Serb peoples. The House of Peoples elected in the first elections after the entry into force of thisConstitution 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 circumstancesin 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 oftheir 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 ofthe 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 theEntities.

Article V: Presidency

1. The Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall consist of three Members: one Bosniac and one Croat, each directly elected from the territory of the Federation, and one Serb directly elected from the territory of the Republika Srpska. Election and Term.

a.) Members of the Presidency shall be directly elected in each Entity (with each voter voting to fill one seat on the Presidency) in accordance with an election law adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly. The first election, however, shall take place in accordance with Annex 3 to the General Framework Agreement. Any vacancy in the Presidency shall be filled from the relevant Entity in accordance with a law to be adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly.

b.) The term of the Members of the Presidency elected in the first election shall be two years; the term of Members subsequently elected shall be four years. Members shall be eligible to succeed themselves once and shall thereafter be ineligible for four years.

2. Procedures.
a.) The Presidency shall determine its own rules of procedure, which shall provide for adequate notice of all meetings of the Presidency.

b.) The Members of the Presidency shall appoint from their Members a Chair. For the first term of the Presidency, the Chair shall be the Member who received the highest number of votes. Thereafter, the method of selecting the Chair, by rotation or otherwise, shall be determined by the Parliamentary Assembly, subject to Article IV(3).

c.) The Presidency shall endeavor to adopt all Presidency Decisions (i.e., those concerning matters arising underArticle V(3)(a) - (e)) by consensus. Such decisions may, subject to paragraph (d) below, nevertheless be adopted bytwo Members when all efforts to reach consensus have failed.

d.) A dissenting Member of the Presidency may declare a Presidency Decision to be destructive of a vital interest of the Entity from the territory from which he was elected, provided that he does so within three days of its adoption. Such a Decision shall be referred immediately to the National Assembly of the Republika Srpska, if the declaration was made by the Member from that territory; to the Bosniac Delegates of the House of Peoples of the Federation, if the declaration was made by the Bosniac Member; or to the Croat Delegates of that body, if the declaration was made by the Croat Member. If the declaration is confirmed by a two-thirds vote of those persons within ten days of the referral, the challenged Presidency Decision shall not take effect.

3. Powers. The Presidency shall have responsibility for:

a.) Conducting the foreign policy of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

b.) Appointing ambassadors and other international representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, no more than two-thirds of whom may be selected from the territory of the Federation.

c.) Representing Bosnia and Herzegovina in international and European organizations and institutions and seeking membership in such organizations and institutions of which Bosnia and Herzegovina is not a member.

d.) Negotiating, denouncing, and, with the consent of the Parliamentary Assembly, ratifying treaties of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

e.) Executing decisions of the Parliamentary Assembly.

f.) Proposing, upon the recommendation of the Council of Ministers, an annual budget to the Parliamentary Assembly.

g.) Reporting as requested, but not less than annually, to the Parliamentary Assembly on expenditures by the Presidency.

h.) Coordinating as necessary with international and nongovernmental organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

i.) Performing such other functions as may be necessary to carry out its duties, as may be assigned to it by the Parliamentary Assembly, or as may be agreed by the Entities.

4. Council of Ministers. The Presidency shall nominate the Chair of the Council of Ministers, who shall take office upon the approval of the House of Representatives. The Chair shall nominate a Foreign Minister, a Minister for Foreign Trade, and other Ministers as may be appropriate, who shall take office upon the approval of the House of Representatives.

a.) Together the Chair and the Ministers shall constitute the Council of Ministers, with responsibility for carrying out the policies and decisions of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the fields referred to in Article III(1), (4), and (5) and reporting to the Parliamentary Assembly (including, at least annually, on expenditures by Bosnia and Herzegovina).

b.) No more than two-thirds of all Ministers may be appointed from the territory of the Federation. The Chair shall also nominate Deputy Ministers (who shall not be of the same constituent people as their Ministers), who shall take office upon the approval of the House of Representatives.

c.) The Council of Ministers shall resign if at any time there is a vote of no-confidence by the ParliamentaryAssembly.

5. Standing Committee.

a.) Each member of the Presidency shall, by virtue of the office, have civilian command authority over armed forces. Neither Entity shall threaten or use force against the other Entity, and under no circumstances shall any armed forces of either Entity enter into or stay within the territory of the other Entity without the consent of the government of the latter and of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. All armed forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina shall operate consistently with the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

b.) The members of the Presidency shall select a Standing Committee on Military Matters to coordinate the activitiesof armed forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Members of the Presidency shall be members of the StandingCommittee."

Implementation History

1995

No Implementation

In 1995, none of these institutions were established.

1996

Full Implementation

Once the post-conflict elections took place on 14 September 1996, the institutional set up of the confederation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was completed. Institutions were set up at the federal, entities, and canton levels with most responsibilities such as taxation, education, and police force placed on the level of cantons. The cantons (five Bosniak, three Croat, and two mixed cantons) were created as a result of the Washington Agreement.

Pospieszna and Schneider (2011) described the complexity of the federal arrangements, which included multiple levels of powersharing:

"The Washington agreement included all three dimensions of power sharing—it provided for the integration of rebels into the army (military power sharing), included provisions for extensive power-sharing in the new government (political power sharing), and called for the division of the territory that was combated into autonomous cantons, establishing the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (territorial power sharing). Under the Dayton Agreement, two power sharing dimensions were included: political—the political divisions of Bosnia and Herzegovina was agreed upon (with the first elections scheduled for 1996), and territorial—specifications were given regarding the creation of the State of Bosnia Herzegovina as a confederation of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina and of the Republika Srpska".1

  • 1. Paulina Pospieszna and Gerald Schneider, "Power Sharing Provisions and Long-Term Success of Mediation in Internal Conflicts," (paper presented at the 2011 APSA Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA, September 1-4, 2011).
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.