From the CIAO Atlas Map of Europe 

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CIAO DATE: 11/00

'Protectorate Democracy' in South-East Europe

Michael Pugh

May 10, 2000

Copenhagen Peace Research Institute


In the human security agenda of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, international organisations have accorded a high priority to the establishment of democratic political processes and the creation of responsible institutions in war-torn societies. An emphasis on free elections as the centre-piece of democracy has been especially insistent in the peace building processes developed for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in the 1995 Dayton Agreement. My argument is that elections in BiH have contributed to a flawed protectorate over a quasi-state. 'Protectorate democracy' has been created in BiH and something similar is emerging in Kosovo.

In this and other senses, BiH and Kosovo can be considered as post-Westphalian polities. BiH is formally constituted as a state, whereas Kosovo remains a province of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. But the state institutions do not function in either case. In BiH the central institutions are constantly thwarted at lower levels of governance. In Kosovo, the formal authority of Yugoslavia exercises no sway at all. In both 'protectorates', executive management lies with external actors: the Office of the UN Secretary-General's High Representative (OHR) and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Missions. Implementation, however, is at the mercy of local resisters and their politico-economic structures. The overlapping, often competing, external and internal authorities, blurs the distinctions between internal and external, between 'state' and non-'state' dimensions and, as will be shown, clouds the defining features of western democratic norms themselves.

The paper begins with a consideration of the 'protectorates' as modern versions of colonial trusteeships. It then highlights weaknesses in the democratic peace thesis that pervades the concept of modern protectorates. The bulk of the paper focuses on BiH as a case study in international management and reveals the gap between the democratic vision for BiH and the electoral realities on the ground. It then indicates lessons of the BiH experience and their relevance to the situation in Kosovo. The chapter concludes that in BiH a unitary, multi-ethnic state will not be forged by elections (if indeed it can be forged at all), and that such nation-building mechanisms are not a panacea for consolidating a pluralist political system. A more appropriate strategy for engendering political change will be mitigating nationalist competition at the polls by negotiating greater space for counter-hegemonic politics. First, it is important to characterise the nature of these 'protectorates' in south-east Europe.


Modern Trusteeships?

They seem to echo the trusteeship and mandate system introduced under the League of Nations to avoid a direct transfer of colonies from the defeated to the victorious powers after the first world war. The territories were entrusted to a mandated power (for example, New Zealand administered Western Samoa), on the understanding that the territory would be guided to self-government and independence. But the League's supervision was negligible, and the mandated powers treated the territories as colonies in all but name. The UN tightened reporting requirements and established the Trusteeship Council under Article XIII of the UN Charter. In some cases, the imperial confetti were then governed by relatively enlightened administrations and, as in Western Samoa, gained independence without violence. Others were engaged in protracted struggles, such as Palestine (a UK mandate) and Namibia (a South African mandate), or were abused as military bases, such as Palau in Micronesia (a US mandate). The Trusteeship Council exercised little authority over the mandate powers and had become moribund by 1990 when Nambia gained its independence.

The new protectorates differ in important respects from the trusteeship system. First, they were not overseas colonies. BiH was a fully fledged republic within the federal structure of Yugoslavia and BiH is legally an independent state with a seat in the United Nations. Kosovo gained autonomy in the period 1968-74 before it was reduced in 1988 and then revoked in 1990. The two had previously experienced regular elections and the Yugoslav-wide system of workers' self-management – defective though these mechanisms of governance may have been. The two areas were net recipients of economic transfers from the central Yugoslav budget. Second, there has been no formal, internationally-supervised transfer of adminstration to a single state. The executive power lies with international representatives (acting on behalf of the 'international community') who attempt to coordinate the policies of external actors. The authority of these external governors derives partly from peace agreements but are essentially appointed on an ad hoc basis without an overall supervisory organ equivalent to the old Trusteeship Council. One might speak of a form of indirect rule by which the dominant states operate to promote their policies through inter-governmental agencies and international financial institutions.

In other respects, however, the new protectorates are similar to the old trust territories. The inhabitants are deemed unable to determine their futures without paternalistic guidance. As will be apparent from later discussion of the BiH case, this external guidance is highly intrusive. Moreover, as Roland Paris indicates, the rules for governance are those determined from the outside, reflecting the values and norms of acceptable behaviour in those neo-liberal democracies that dominate the external institutions. 1 The agendas of the external actors are not overwhelmingly altruistic. As with former trusteeships, these protectorates are not simply designed to save people from abhorrent histories, but to serve the interests of the protectors themselves. The various external goals include the return of refugees, the integration of south-east Europe into the sphere of western European capitalism, and the extension of NATO's influence in the region. 2

In sum, the 'protectorates' have three main characteristics. First, external actors (such as the UN, the international financial institutions, the Dayton Peace Implementation Council and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) have installed processes and institutions that were negotiated on the basis of settlements to stop violent conflict, rather than on the basis of internal political revolutions against authoritarianism. Second, the negotiated system is the arena for struggles between local 'ethnocracies' - the authoritarian political elites that, in any case, maintain their own controls and structures, parallel to those imposed from outside. Third, the external actors are drawn into undemocratic micro-management to impose a vision of democracy in which the forms are given greater emphasis than mediation for counter-hegemonic and accountable political leadership. In effect, the external actors have been drawn into unavailing efforts to manipulate local politics. 3 This is not to say that there have been no counter-hegemonic results to show for these efforts, and evidence is presented later of a slender (perhaps growing) strength in pluralist and counter-hegemonic voting in BiH. However, in electoral terms it is only a little more significant than when the ethno-nationalist parties polled 75% of the vote in the first post-communist, pre-war election in 1990. Why, then, have the external actors given such emphasis to democracy in their protectorate functions?


Forging Democratic Peace

The priority accorded to elections in war-torn societies has been justified conceptually in terms of the democratic peace thesis and the assumed power of the ballot box to negate the attractions of political violence. In war-torn societies, elections also represent a symbol of development towards multiparty politics that purportedly allow voices marginalised by extreme nationalism to be heard and provide safeguards against further human rights abuses. 4 However, as David Black argues with regard to cases in Africa, the causal relation between democracy and peace is not verifiable. Other common variables in democracies, such as an advanced welfare system, may contribute to their stability. 5

This is not the place to review the other criticisms of the 'democratic peace' concept, but the critique by Mansfield and Snyder is particularly relevant to this analysis because it focuses on political transitions. 6 Elements of democracy (popular participation, pluralism, freedom of information, civil rights and civil society) are not fashioned overnight, of course, but emerge over a period from authoritarian or mixed democratic/authoritarian systems. Mansfield and Snyder identify a category of societies in transition towards democracy, and claim that these are between 50 and 75 per cent more likely to be engaged in war than regimes remaining either mixed or authoritarian. Their critique of democratic peace draws evidence from inter-state, rather than sub-state, conflicts but three aspects of it are relevant to the phenomenon of protectorate democracy.

First, popular participation in politics sets off a competition for allegiance in which the most nationalistic often win. According to the Mansfield and Snyder analysis: 'This concoction of nationalism and incipient democratisation has been an intoxicating brew, leading in case after case to ill conceived wars of expansion'. 7 Voters are not necessarily enthusiastic for war but political leaders have great incentives to incite nationalism as a vehicle for claiming a right to govern. Research in BiH supports the argument that the link between elections and ultra-nationalism is also strong. But, because of the relatively large international military presence and the de facto division of the country, the resurgence of competitive nationalism has not led to a wholesale renewal of fighting. The OSCE has attempted to manage this problem through exclusion. Candidates suspected of war crimes or said to have 'obstructed Dayton' have been prevented from running for office or forced to withdraw from official positions. In October 1999, for example, the Provisional Election Commission (PEC) refused to allow the SRS (Srpska Radikalna Stranka: Serb Radical Party) to register for the April 2000 municipal elections, on the grounds that its leaders were obstructing the Dayton peace process. The following month, 22 Bosniac officials were removed from office in Mostar by the OHR. However, this kind of external micro-management has not prevented war nationalists from exerting leverage in the parallel structures that actually run councils. 8 Nor have the dominant party leaders demonstrated a commitment to ethnic non-discrimination, least of all in policies towards returning refugees. On the contrary, the ruling parties have tolerated or encouraged the dispossession of the property of ethnic minorities, discrimination by the judiciary and widespread human rights abuses by police forces in order to maintain an environment of security threats. 9

Second, a transition to democratisation creates a wider spectrum of politically significant and diverse groups that are difficult to contain within a narrow framework of democratic behaviour to produce stable alliances and loyal oppositions. The BiH elections have certainly been marked by the proliferation of parties. Some 200 parties, excluding independents, stood for the municipal elections of 1997 and 2000. But a key variant of the Mansfield-Snyder thesis in BiH is that instability derives from extreme nationalism in the mainstream parties, and that parties standing for non-nationalism have largely been marginalised, and their supporters victimised. Even with a greater degree of pluralism that marked the April 2000 municipal elections, nationalists still controlled the majority of municipalities.

A third limitation indicated by Mansfield and Snyder is that old elites threatened with new competitors become inflexible about their interests and cannot entertain compromise. In BiH the old elites are split between the small remnant that hankers after a trans-ethnic or ideological identity (sometimes associated with being 'Yugoslav'), and the majority that has replaced ideology with ultra-nationalism. Electoral modes are linked to the construction of a collective identity as an exclusive community, defined by the essentialised and starkly presented difference between 'self' and 'other'. Political organisation for electoral purposes tends to inherit the war legacy of identification of nation with party or leader. Oppositional groups that stand for election from within the nation are more of a threat to unity than other ethnies that have been constructed as threatening in a way that unites the 'threatened'. Thus, the Bosniac leader, Alia Izetbegovic, cultivates a messianic aura as the personal embodiment of a Muslim nation, disengaged from the hurly-burly of internicine politics, relieved of responsibility and above criticism.

A further consideration, highlighted by Roland Paris, is that elections may ignore the context in which 'w]ar-shattered states are typically ill equipped to manage societal competition induced by a political and economic liberalization, not only because these states have a recent history of violence, but also because they typically lack the institutional structures capable of peacefully resolving internal disputes.' 10 Indeed, in protectorate democracy the electoral mechanisms are technically weak, particularly in regard to registrations, leading to boycotts, election fatigue and denial of electoral legitimacy. One consequence is that the institution with the most interest in holding 'reconciliation' elections may well be the international organisation supervising them. 11

Finally, in so far as BiH has been relatively peaceful since 1995, this may be due as much to its de facto division as to the series of elections aimed to bring about a multi-ethnic unitary state. Elections have legitimised nationalist control over territories, within which assumed threats from other ethnies have been eliminated. Signs of the expansion of pluralism in 1998-2000 might owe as much to exogenous and regional factors, such as the enfeeblement of Croatian and Yugoslavian support to the Croat and Serb nationalists in BiH, rather than to the establishment of a 'protectorate democracy'. In sum, the promotion of human security through formal structures - in order to (a) undo or mitigate the war gains of ethnocracies and (b) establish a unitary multiethnic state - has been elusive.


The Institutionalisation of Fragmentation

Mansfield and Snyder also suggest that promoting democracy abroad is a management as well as an institutional and behavioural problem. Nowhere has the external management of human security been so evident as in BiH. The Dayton Agreement specified constitutional arrangements that constitute an awkward child of the marriage between the realities of power on the ground and the international vision of a unitary multi-ethnic state. At state level the Dayton Agreement provided for power sharing with rotating chairmanships in a three-member presidency, a council of ministers and constitutional court. The state was divided into two entities - the Federation of BiH and Republika Srpska (RS) - each sharing sovereignty with the state of BiH but left free to develop a high degree of autonomy.

The Federation entity, established by the March 1994 Washington Agreement between Bosniac (Moslem) and Croat areas, has multilayered, often-competing authorities, cantons as well as municipalities. The Dayton Agreement attempted to deal with the Bosniac and Croat split by placing the city of Mostar and the mixed Bosniac-Croat cantons of Central Bosnian and Hercegovina-Neretva under special regimes that required the parties to reach consensus on critical issues. But the wartime Croat Republic of Herceg-Bosna survived in spirit, closely integrated in the post-war years with Croatia proper.

Republika Srpska retains only one layer of government below entity level, the municipalities. Geographically, the western and eastern parts of the RS entity are linked only by the narrow Posavina corridor at Brcko. Politically, Serbian war nationalism was rent by a schism in 1996, between the Biljana Plavsic and Radovan Karadzic wings of the extreme nationalist SRS. The Karadzic camp, with its leader in hiding as an indicted war criminal, maintained its influence to the east of Brcko, based in the pseudo-capital of Pale. The Plavsic faction took control to the west of Brcko, with a parliament and most of the ministries based in Banja Luka.

BiH is not therefore a fully functioning 'Westphalian' state. Some integrative functions have been established, such as common vehicle number plates and a common currency. But central government institutions hardly operate outside the Bosniac areas of the Federation, and the OHR-imposed BiH flag does not fly in the Croat and Serb localities. There is no common telephone or postal system and each ethnic group supports separate banking systems. The RS resisted the creation of a common border police, which the OHR, Wolfgang Petritsch, had to impose. Bosniacs, backed by the external powers, are generally the only group pursuing a Westphalian vision for the whole country. To the external actors, democracy through elections, was not only meant to cement a ceasefire but to legitimise the sovereignty of a power-sharing central government. Since this could not be done without also legitimising the entites and their local authorities, BIH has become an internationally protected, loosely-connected group of autonomous entities. Elections have not created a state.


The Case of Electoral Democracy in BiH

BiH has been the venue host for the most complex election series ever attempted by any political authority, let alone sponsored by international actors in a society emerging from violent conflict into relative peace. The series has comprised the following, all but the first under the auspices of the OSCE:

But in spite of a significant investment in money and personnel, 12 there is some justification for the argument that 'democracy' has been faked in BiH and that the elections have been a charade. 13 The complexities of post-war conditions and an externally imposed system mean that the elections had no secure foundations in local society. Politics remained securitized for the Bosnian people, because politicians maximise votes from their own ethnic community by playing on fears about other ethnicities in a 'continuation of war by other means' for control of sovereignty. The Dayton Agreement promised a reintegrated and multi-ethnic state but effectively confirmed ethnic autonomies within the country, making large-scale refugee returns unlikely, and creating councils that either represented absentees or 'colonisers'. The electoral system was technically flawed because, in the absence of anything more accurate, the pre-war 1991 Yugoslav census was adopted as the baseline for voter registration. The census was inadequate in several respects, not least because it failed to account for deaths and displacements. Forced movement affected about 63% of the 1991 population of BiH, and of the 2.52 million people who registered to vote for the 1997 municipal elections, 420,000 were abroad. 14 Displaced voters could choose, within various criteria, where they registered, and this made it relatively easy for the hardline parties to engage in fraud and to ensure that their own ethnic group predominated where their military forces had gained control. 15 The inability or unwillingness of external actors to conduct a new census before rushing into elections may have been one of the more serious technical failings of the protectorate.

The first national elections, held in 1996, fulfilled the prophecy of a former OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Flavio Cotti, that unless minimal requirements were met, they would be a 'pseudo-democratic legitimisation of extreme nationalist power structures and ethnic cleansing'. 16 The 1996 elections were neither free nor fair, but marred by wholesale intimidation and widespread registration and voting frauds. 17 Arch-nationalists surged into office in 1996, so that the external actors were bereft of partners to facilitate the return of refugees to the region. Non-nationalists polled only about 15% of the votes for the state, Federation and RS assemblies, and a high score of 30% in only one (Sarajevo) of the ten Federation cantons. 18 Municipal elections had been due to be held at the same time as the 1996 national elections, but were postponed several times to sort out the problems of blatant fraud. Indeed, serious questions arose about the OSCE's management in 1997. It was condemned for ignoring or even conspiring with irregularities. The Head of the OSCE Mission, Robert Frowick, allegedly tolerated nationalist demands in order to fulfil the Dayton timetable for reasons to do with US domestic politics. 19

The next part of this paper draws on original research on these 1997 municipal elections. These had a central role in the peacebuilding process and provided an important test of human security assumptions. Potentially, external hosts of refugees, such as Germany, had much to gain from local political pluralism in BiH because municipal cooperation was absolutely essential to secure the quick return of refugees. Mayors and local party elites in BiH were traditionally powerful in society, controlling disbursements, appointing key public figures, supervising construction programmes and often determining political, educational and social advancement. This political disposition was not, however, to be wiped out in a matter of months by the Dayton Agreement. The municipalities were to remain dominated by single parties, reinforcing the hegemony wielded by the mayor, and behind him, the party's local executive committee.

Nevertheless, the electoral landscape was rather more varied than jaundiced views have indicated. 20 A perception that ultra-nationalism has been a uniform, geographically undifferentiated response is certainly a caricature. Local resistance survived in spite of the flaws and complexities of the electoral system that generally favoured ultra-nationalist manipulation. External actors have failed to make the most of these variations.


Lessons of Protectorate Democracy in BiH

The chief lesson of the BiH democracy programme has been that elections expose the limits of external actors in manipulating local politics. It had been axiomatic that the key to peace and reconciliation in BiH would be the defeat of war nationalism and the reassertion of multi-ethnicity. The 1997 elections recorded a turnout of 87% of those registered to vote. Fear of not supporting the ethnic party was perhaps more important than the massive effort by the external actors to ensure that potential voters participated in the electoral process. People may have been deterred from voting for opposition parties which, in any event, simply could not campaign effectively in some areas. Turnout was highest in places where radical nationalism had been sharpened by violent conflict in mixed communities - in central Bosnia, for example. Throughout the 137 municipalities in BiH, the 1997 results indicated an overwhelming endorsement for ethnic nationalism. 21 In 32 municipalities all the seats went to a single ethnic party. Of the main nationalist parties, the SDA-dominated Bosniac Coalition (Stranka Demokratske Akcije: Party of Democratic Action of Alia Izetbegovic) captured over 85% of the vote in municipalities in peripheral or exposed localities where security was likely to be a dominating factor. In a dozen Croat-dominated areas, the HDZ (Hrvatska Demokratske Zajednica: Croatian Democratic Union) captured the entire vote in several municipalities in the southern Herceg-Bosna heartland of Croat nationalism. Non-nationalism in the RS was virtually confined to the western side of the Posavina corridor, including Brcko. Voters in the east were twice as likely to vote for the extremists in west and, except in the vicinity of Sarajevo, nothing remotely resembling pluralism existed in the east. Contrary to any expectation that areas overwhelmingly dominated by one ethnic group might be relaxed about voting non-nationalist, this was not the case. The extremists tended to clean up.

Displaced voters (those who were not currently resident in their former municipality) voted strongly on nationalist lines, and in 42 municipalities won between 20% and 49% of the council seats. It may be inferred that where their vote could be expected to turn an in situ ethnic minority into an absentee majority, displaced voters appear to have voted almost exclusively on nationalist lines. Five municipalities in the Federation and one in RS produced absentee majorities where the displaced population was of a different ethnicity to the population in situ. The composition of the Srebrenica council, for example, bore little relationship to the current population.

Subsequent elections furnished evidence, to the OSCE's satisfaction at least, that a 'drastic drop' in voting for war parties signalled a decline in ethnic nationalism. 22 In the November 1997 RS election, the SDS vote collapsed from its September 1996 position, but it remained the largest single party in the assembly (with another 30 divided between Plavsic and the SRS). In the 1998 general election the high level of non-valid votes (20%) and the large drop in voter turnout (-16%), compared to the 1997 municipal elections, may indicate election fatigue, cynicism and confusion. In the April 2000 municipal elections the turnout was down to 66%. Non-nationalist parties did better in April 2000 than September 1997. But the SDS had a resurgence in the RS, winning 49 of the 61 municipalities, and the HDZ swept the board in western Herzegovina, though on a low turnout. Izetbegovic's SDA faced two challenges: Haris Silajdzic's breakaway party (also nationalist), and an improved showing by the non-nationalist SDP-BiH (Social Democratic Party). But the SDA still controlled the majority of municipalities in Bosniac areas, and continued to dominte the cantonal governments which could curtail the powers of SDP-controlled municipalities. 23

The first consequence of protectorate democracy and 'reconciliation elections', then, was the legitimation of the ethnocracies in BiH. Nationalist power structures and ethnic logic of Bosnian politics appear to remain intact. 24 This was borne out by the difficulty in operating local councils after the 1997 elections. Some 35 municipalities were identified by the OSCE as unwilling to fully implement the election law. Councils with absentee majorities were particularly problematic, with frequent harassment and physical intimidation of displaced voters' representatives. In Srebrenica, representatives of the Bosniac majority were intimidated or beaten up, and the town had a Special Interim Executive Board meeting in Tuzla, comprising two Bosniacs, two Serbs, and an OHR-OSCE appointee as chair. Similar situations arose in Mostar, Zvornik, Tomislavgrad and Gornji Vakuf , where cooperation was virtually non-existent and very few minority councillors have returned to their areas. 25 Certification of councils by the election commission (chaired by the OSCE) was relatively easy to obtain and retain because the commission used its discretion; it could hardly use every non-compliance issue to decertify municipalities. Even disruptive councils managed to gain certification for a time, notably in Drvar where Croats beat up Serb councillors and rioting led to a second flight of Serbs and withdrawal of international agencies. 26

A second consequence has been that the OHR and OSCE have been increasingly drawn into a micro-management and trusteeship role, formalised by the intrusive mandate provided to the OHR at the Implementation Council meeting in Bonn in December 1997. Alongside such 'state creation' activities as designing the state flag and coat of arms, determining the design of the currency and appointing the board of a Central Reserve Bank (whose chair is a New Zealander), the electoral quagmire has been marked by the imposition of binding decisions, the removal of people from office, and attempts to impose power sharing. In brief, the vision of 'democracy' is undermined by the protectorate function. The protectors have ignored and manipulated election results and imposed trusteeship on entities and cantons. A regulation requiring the representation of minority parties at all levels of administration, for example, has led to minority positions being decided by the election commission. The most blatant examples of undemocratic orchestration occurred in Republika Srpska, where the OHR took extraordinary measures to manoeuvre the relatively moderate Milorad Dodik into the premiership of the RS Parliament, though he had hardly any grassroots support (and only two seats in the RS assembly). 27

It is hardly a model that proponents of democratic process would want autonomous institutions to follow themselves. In any case it does not work. As Marcus Cox argues, the sweeping powers of trustees has no lasting impact: '[l]ocal leaders are skilled at reading the degree of commitment of the international community, and impossible to control.' 28 Further, it reduces the accountability of local leaders who, as a consequence of diminished responsibility, can claim to be elected but unaswerable to the electors.

Third, the quest by external actors to use elections as a mechanism for cementing the Dayton ceasefire does not mesh well with the parallel drive to make BiH an integrated, sovereign and centrally governed state on the Westphalian model. Richard Holbrooke's characterisation of the obstacles to this goal as representing 'the forces of darkness' is patently absurd, especially as he was partly responsible for recognising the inevitability of subdivision. 29 Creating artificial structures in pursuit of a Westphalian state (a condition for association with the EU, for example), denies the importance of decentralisation and national autonomy as a possible precondition for peace. Whether it can be democratic as well as peaceful, will depend on finding strategies to counter the hegemonic ethnocracies.

Without a political revolution from within, the construction of 'democracy' has for the most part legitimated the authoritarian nationalist spoils of war. And although Bosniac unitarists (led by co-chair of the BiH Council of Ministers, Silajdzic), 30 have agitated for revision of Dayton to overcome constitutional limitations blocking a unitary state, such a step would undercut the credibility of the external actors. Everything done by international institutions has been justified, not on grounds of conflict prevention and peacebuilding imperatives, but on the grounds of 'implementing Dayton'. The Republika Srpska will continue to champion the Dayton Agreement for the autonomy it gained - one of the main incentives for the RS to co-operate, albeit minimally, with the rest of the 'state'. Hence the RS accepted the New York Declaration in November 1999 reaffirming the Dayton agreement, in spite of objections to establishing joint institutions such as a common border police. Moreover, any unpacking of Dayton would incite Croats in the Federation to promote a Croat republic, as President Tudjman of Croatia had proposed and Croat leaders in BiH continue to advocate. 31


Space for Counter-Hegemony

However, analysis of the elections from 1997 onwards suggests that counter-hegemonic voting may have been underestimated. It may be argued that nationalism and non-nationalism are social constructions bound up with claims or denials of a particular identity that can vary over time and according to circumstance. How nationalism is translated into votes is problematic for analysts. Just because Bosniac voters flocked to the SDA/Coalition does not mean that they were all expressing nationalism let alone support for another war to divide BiH afresh. By the same token, however, voting for a party that did not privilege nationalism undoubtedly reflected willingness on the part of voters to resist the dominant pressures to support the war parties during an election in which issues of loyalty to an identity were uppermost. So it is reasonable to assess non-nationalist voting on the basis of votes for small parties that espoused non-nationalism: the SDP-BiH; the SNSD (Stranka Nezavisnih Socijaldemokrata: Party of Independent Social Democrats, in RS); and the Zdrusena Lista of social democrats, which included the party of Selim Beslagic, the social democrat Mayor of Tuzla. The non-nationalist vote share for the whole country was 10.27%.

Certainly there is significant variation in non-nationalism according to the presence of Bosniacs, the density of population and the ethnic structure of municipalities. 32 There is a firm correlation between non-nationalist voting and the absolute size and concentration of the Bosniac population. By contrast, there is no significant correlation with non-nationalism for areas where Croats or Serbs were numerous, with the exception of Laktasi, Srbac and Celinac in the western part of RS where independent social democrats and the ideologically-oriented Socialist Party of RS polled over 20% in 1997. Nor did the massive population shifts, which significantly affected all towns, alter the fact that the traditional centres of industry, publishing and communications, with civic associations and in some cases a vigorous intellectual life, were far more likely to return non-nationalist votes than sparsely populated areas. In Sarajevo, Zenica and Tuzla there were also private television stations that broadcast externally-sponsored Open Broadcast Network programmes. In Tuzla, a long-standing, multi-ethnic, civil society tradition had put up significant resistance to ultra-nationalism under Selim Beslagic's leadership and polled 61% non-nationalist. Finally, ethnically-mixed and heavier populated constituencies, where the 1991 ethnic compositions in order of magnitude was Bosniac, Serb, Croat, were more likely to vote non-nationalist than in municipalities where the ethnic composition was different.

These variations suggest that within the overall framework of an election system that promotes and protects nationalist politics, pockets of resistance are to be found where non-nationalism has survived and counter-hegemonic politics might flourish. But the focus by external actors on working with the ethnocracies to secure a ceasefire had, if anything, delayed or stifled domestic political change.


The Kosovo Protectorate: Lessons Learned?

The post-war political circumstances in Yugoslavia-Kosovo are in one major respect, rather more straightforward for the international protectorate to handle. Since the expulsion and murder of Serbs and other minorities, Kosovo is the only mono-ethnic part of what remains of Yugoslavia. There has been little difficulty in getting the majority of Albanian refugees to return. However, the area's constitutional position is far from clear cut, and just as problematic in its own way as the constitution of BiH. Not wishing to alter frontiers contrary to the 1975 Helsinki agreement, and reaffirming the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Yugoslavia, the external actors have sponsored another sub-state entity. Kosovo is technically a province within the legal framework of the Republic of Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It is neither a self-governing state nor currently being governed by the sovereign state. Indeed, UN Security Council Resolution 1244 calls for self-government and an undefined level of autonomy, giving the external powers approval to ignore Yugoslav claims to exercise sovereignty.

As in BiH, the protectorate role has been intrusive. Executive and legislative authority over Kosovo is vested in the UN Secretary-General's Representative, Bernard Kouchner, head of the UN Interim Administration Mission (UNMIK). Together with the OSCE and K-FOR it runs a skeletal bureaucracy, policy-making machinery and justice system. A four-member Interim Administrative Council with representation from 'the political forces of Kosovo' (including a Serb) was set up. A Kosovo Transitional Council was also appointed as a non-legislative, consultative body. It was drawn from the three main Albanian groups among the highly fractured political interests. Although it includes two Serb observers and Kouchner announced his intention to broaden the Council to include minorities, minor parties and civil society representatives, it essentially reflected the views of the Albanian ethnocratic elites. 33 None of these 'nation-building' endeavours have had the sovereign authority's consent. But as of May 2000, the international presence had been unable to establish sufficient authority to prevent Kosovo becoming a haven for organised crime, to prevent attacks on non-Albanians, to prevent a self-declared Provisional Government from collecting taxes or to prevent the Kosovo Liberation Army appointing local mayors and officials in the political vacuum left by the Serbian authorities ahead of elections. 34

It is not clear whether the international trustees have adapted the lessons of BiH, in spite of hiring personnel from BiH as advisers. Although elections cannot occur until technical, registration requirements are met, there is a concern among Kosovars, themselves, that the planned poll for October 2000 would be premature in the prevailing insecurity and political factionalism. The Provisional Government leader, Hashim Thaci, warned that electioneering should not be treated as a fetish. 35 On the other hand, the OSCE seems to have learned the importance of making strong efforts to enhance counter-hegemonic politics and, through its Democratisation Branch, to cultivate and develop NGOs in the civil society sector. 36 This suggests one of the more promising directions for the future in both 'protectorates'.


Conclusion: Future Prospects

For BiH, a strongly-favoured option has been to change the election rules. An OSCE/OHR draft permanent election law was presented in August 1999. It specifies: sponsorship of candidates from voters or a municipality in a different entity (without specifying a different ethnicity); the ability of voters to choose from open lists of candidates (at least a third of whom must be of a second gender); a clear relationship between the number of registered voters and number of seats to be contested in each municipality; and mandates for councillors allocated under a system of proportional representation. The draft law was rejected by the Bosniacs in the Federation Parliament in mid-January 2000, because it reinforced what they saw as discrimination and segregation, contrary to human rights conventions. The proposed law continued to protect exclusive ethnic rights in elections to the BiH three-member presidency, thereby ruling out, for example the possibility of a non-Serb standing as the RS representative. Outside experts have proposed a multiple-vote system that would oblige each party would have to attract a minimum level of support from other ethnic groups. 37 Such an integrative electoral law would undoubtedly improve the prospects for cross-ethnic politics. However, it is based on categorising voters and parties on ethnic lines to produce a cross-ethnic solution, thereby perhaps underpinning ethnicity as the electoral leitmotif and discouraging non-ethnic politics. Multiple voting would be another technical solution, even more complex than the existing system.

A second option for BiH is to revise Dayton and increase the level of external intervention. The Bosniac rejection of the law plunged the international protectorate into a crisis because it opened up the spectre of unpacking Dayton. 38 Any change to the rules protecting ethnic block voting would require a change in the Constitution as set up by Dayton. Whilst Bosniacs want Dayton completely revised in order to eliminate the autonomy of the RS, this risks re-opening the conflict, and would require the external actors to get even more deeply involved in micro-management. It seems doubtful, however, that the external actors would have the motivation or capacity to move from the current supervisory protectorate into a full-blown occupation that would remove the ethnocracies and install puppet governments throughout BiH and, indeed, in Kosovo.

The BiH elections did serve, at least, to reveal where the variations in nationalism are located. For both BiH and Kosovo, the most appropriate approach is to pay more attention to communal political processes. It was argued earlier that the external actors had done little to support counter-hegemonic non-nationalism. The limitations of the formal modes and procedures for promoting democratic principles are rather more profound than simply engendering pluralism at the polls. To foster counter-hegemonies in BiH, international actors will have to unravel the protectorate concept and operate with greater nuance.

Imposed frameworks have been characterised by Béatrice Pouligny as failing to capture, articulate or modify the routine communal and network negotiations that actually shape the societies concerned. 39 Her strictures are applicable to the situation in BiH and, potentially, to Kosovo as well. For example, she contends that the significance of communal socio-economic negotiations that run parallel to, or overlap, the electoral processes, are underestimated. Economic systems based on survival techniques and/or predatory, mafia-like activity are fields in which political processes are highly relevant to transformations, leading in some instances, such as El Salvador and potentially in BiH and Kosovo, to gang warfare.

Moreover, the international community's attention to, and investment in, elections, repatriation and 'measurable', macro-economic stability projects on the one hand, stands in marked contrast to the limited investment in qualitative social and civil society programmes on the other. Concepts of political accountability and representation have therefore made little headway. 40 Far from producing accountability to the governed, the political elites are held accountable to the statist institutions of an externally-imposed protectorate. A strategy of integrated social development to support counter-hegemonic society would negotiate space that might weaken nationalist social and political power structures. 41 As in Kosovo, support programmes for communal networks, citizens' associations and human rights organisations should have been situated in the mainstream of peacebuilding. 42 This might, for example, include supporting local technocrats rather than ethnocrats and networks with functional rather than multi-ethnic programmes.

Clearly, transforming socio-political relations is an ambitious and long-term project. In addition, the concept of civil society is not without problems, (for example, if local associations are readily co-opted into conflict as in Rwanda). However, introducing notions of accountability and participation are more likely to create stakeholding than relying on contrived electoral systems. Without negotiated accountability, communities will fail to become 'stakeholders' in the peacebuilding ventures ostensibly generated to assist them.



In preparing this paper I am grateful from the insights of Håkan Wiberg and other COPRI staff, and for the statistical assistance from Margaret Cobble of the University of Plymouth. I would also like to thank Benoît Paré, Paul Stubbs and Marcus Cox for their observations.



Note 1: Roland Paris, 'Peacebuilding and the Limits of Liberal Internationalism', International Security, vol. 22, no. 2, 1997, pp.54-89. Back.

Note 2: See particularly, Tariq Ali (ed.), Masters of the Universe? Nato's Balkan Crusade, London: Verso, 2000; Noam Chomsky, The New Military Humanitarianism: Lessons from Kosovo, London: Pluto, 1999; Håkan Wiberg, 'Background and phases of the Kosovo conflict: NATO goal attainment', paper presented at 'The Lessons of Kosovo', COPRI conference, 13 September 1999. Back.

Note 3: Marcus Cox, 'Strategic Approaches to International Intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina, paper at Third International Security Forum, Zurich, 19-21 October 1998. Back.

Note 4: Boutros Boutros-Ghali, 'Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization', UN Doc A/49/1, 2 Sept. 1994: para 775. Back.

Note 5: David Black, 'Democratization and Security: some implications from recent African experience', paper at workshop, 'Exploring Canada's Options on Global Issues', Ottawa, 20 Jan. 1997. Back.

Note 6: Edward Mansfield and Jack Snyder, 'Democratization and War', Foreign Affairs, Vol.74, No.3, May/June 1995. pp.79-97. Johan Galtung, for example, argues that democratic countries are self-righteous about their status, try to export 'democracy' and use it to relegate others to pariah status. See, Peace by Peaceful Means, Oslo: PRIO, 1996, pp. 49-59. Back.

Note 7: Mansfield and Snyder, p.85. Back.

Note 8: Discussion with official, OSCE Regional Centre, Mostar, 10 Sept. 1998. Back.

Note 9: US Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, 'Bosnia and Herzegovina Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1996, 30 Jan. 1997. Back.

Note 10: Roland Paris, 'Peacebuilding and the Limits of Liberal Internationalism', International Security, vol. 22, no. 2, 1997, p. 57. Back.

Note 11: Rafael López-Pintor, 'Reconciliation Elections: A Post-Cold War Experience', in Krishna Kumar (ed.), Rebuilding Societies After Civil War: Critical Roles for International Assistance, Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1997, p. 49. Back.

Note 12: In the period 1996-98, the elections cost about $US150 million and involved about 200 expatriate staff, 2,500 international volunteers and some 15,000 nationals, variously employed in election supervision, educating voters and running media campaigns. Peace Implementation Council, 1998, 'To Build a Peace: recommendations for the Madrid Peace Implementation Council Meeting', 15 Dec. 1998 ( Back.

Note 13: International Crisis Group (ICG), 'Doing Democracy a Disservice: 1998 Elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina', Sarajevo, 9 Sept. 1998; David Chandler, Bosnia: Faking Democracy after Dayton, London: Pluto, 1999. Back.

Note 14: UNHCR The State of the World's Refugees, 1997-98: A Humanitarian Agenda, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 170 Back.

Note 15: ICG, 'Is Dayton Failing? Bosnia Four Years After the Peace Agreement', Sarajevo, 29 Oct. 1999, pp. 6-7. In Brcko, some 15% of the Serb registration was judged to be fraudulent. Back.

Note 16: Falvio Cotti, 'Declaration at Permanent Council of OSCE', 25 June 1996. Back.

Note 17: Intimidation and victimisation during and after election campaigns has not only affected ethnic minorities but also non-nationalists of the same ethnicity. OSCE, 'Employment discrimination in Bosnia and Herzegovina', OSCE Mission to BiH Human Rights Department, Sarajevo, June 1999, p.19. In December 1999, 15 SDA candidates for the 2000 elections were barred from standing when the OSCE discovered that overseas registrations from the BiH Consulate in New York contained a high number of frauds. BiH TV News, 28 Dec 1999. Back.

Note 18: ICG, 'Elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina of 22 September 1996 and Addendum', Sarajevo, 30 Oct. 1996. Back.

Note 19: The OSCE became known as the Office to Secure Clinton's Election. Frowick overruled an attempt to disqualify Karadzic candidates in Pale for breaking campaign rules, arguing that he was 'balancing integrity and momentum'. The Washington Post, 17 Sept. 1997, p.A1. Back.

Note 20: ICG, 'Analysis of 1997 Municipal Election Results', Sarajevo, 14 Oct. 1997; David Campbell, National Deconstruction: Violence, Identity and Justice in Bosnia, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998. Back.

Note 21: A complete data set is available at Back.

Note 22: Robert L. Barry, 'Address to Permanent Council of the OSCE', 1 Oct. 1998 at [sic]. Back.

Note 23: ICG, Bosnia's Municipal Elections 2000: winners and losers, Sarajevo, 27 April 2000. Back.

Note 24: European Stability Initiative, 'Reshaping International Priorities in Bosnia and Hercegovina', part 1, Bosnian Power Structures', Berlin, 14 Oct. 1999. Back.

Note 25: OSCE Election Appeals Sub-commission ( Back.

Note 26: ICG, Immediate Measures Urged in Response to the Drvar Violence, Sarajevo, April 1998. Back.

Note 27: When Parliament failed to elect a leader, the session was adjourned and the hardline SRS and SDS members left the building. The Deputy Speaker was pressed by the OHR to re-open the session. Dodik immediately declared his candidacy. The OHR requested Izetbegovic to instruct the SDA/Coalition to support Dodik. A Croat representative who had already left the Assembly was brought back by SFOR. The session reopened and Dodik duly elected by one vote. His government subsequently received cash gifts from international community during the Kosovo war. ICG, 'RS in the Post-Kosovo Era: Collateral Damage and Transformation', Sarajevo, 5 July 1999. Back.

Note 28: Marcus Cox, 'Strategic Approaches to International Intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina, paper at Third International Security Forum, Zurich, 19-21 October 1998., 1998, p.19. Back.

Note 29: 'UN slams Bosnian leadership', BBC News 13 Jan. 2000. Back.

Note 30: Open Broadcast Network News Review, 22 Jan. 2000. Back.

Note 31: In response to this, the UN High Representative, Wolfgang Petritsch said that 'changing Dayton was out of the question'. Open Broadcast Network (OBN) News 21 Oct. 1999; RTRS News, 16 Jan 2000. Back.

Note 32: The correlation coefficients are presented in: Michael Pugh and Margaret Cobble, Local Elections in BosniaHerzegovina: democracy and peacebuilding, Plymouth International Paper, no. 15, University of Plymouth, 2000. Other variables were rejected by the regression analysis. Back.

Note 33: ICG, 'Starting from Scratch in Kosovo: the honeymoon is over', Pristina, 10 Dec. 1999. Back.

Note 34: Michael Kelley, Washington Post, 22 March 2000; editorial, Financial Times, 22 March 2000. Back.

Note 35: ICG, 'Starting from Scratch in Kosovo: the honeymoon is over', Pristina, 10 Dec. 1999. Back.

Note 36: OSCE, 'UNMIK Pillar III: the first six months', Dec. 1999. Back.

Note 37: ICG, 'Breaking the Mould: Electoral Reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina', Sarajevo, 4 March 1999. Back.

Note 38: BiH TV News, 1 Dec. 1999. Back.

Note 39: Béatrice Pouligny, 'Promoting Democratic Institutions in Post-conflict Societies: Giving a Chance to Diversity', International Peacekeeping, vol.7, no.3, (forthcoming autumn, 2000). Back.

Note 40: Michael Pugh, 'The Civil-social Dimension', in Pugh (ed.), Regeneration of War-torn Societies, Basingstoke: Macmillan. 2000, pp.112-29. Some 60% of 3,000 people surveyed in August 1999 considered their elected officials to be irresponsible or unresponsive to their needs. OSCE BiH, 'BiH citizens consider their elected officials 'unresponsive', PELIC survey reveals', press release, Sarajevo, 5 Aug. 1999. Back.

Note 41: Philip Peirce and Paul Stubbs, 'Peacebuilding, Hegemony and Integrated Social Development: The UNDP in Travnik', in Pugh, ibid., pp. 157-76. Back.

Note 42: Mary Kaldor, New and Old Wars: Organized Violence in a Global Era, Cambridge: Polity, 1999, pp. 133-5. Back.