A Mirror of the Ethnic Divide: Interest Group Pillarization and Elite Dominance in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Author: Damir Kapidžić
Title: A Mirror of the Ethnic Divide: Interest Group Pillarization and Elite Dominance in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Journal: Journal of Public Affairs
Issue & pages: vol. 19, no. 2, pages 1–12
To date, there is no comprehensive treatment of interests and interest groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). This article seeks to fill that gap. It does so by explaining that interest groups reflect the country's complex political system with multiple levels of power sharing along societal cleavages. Political parties are the major power centers, and the link between ethnicity and party allegiance is most significant in defining the role of interest groups. The result is a pillarized (separate, intragroup) and bifurcated group system with 3 separate interest group subsystems with little interchange between them. This fragmentation has been challenged by international institutional organizations promoting multiethnic interests. Nevertheless, with the persistence of many informal interests, the group system is stymied in moving toward an integrated system, a development that is key to strengthening BiH's consociational democracy.