Ethnic practice in electoral politics: Bosnia and Herzegovina’s 1990 Presidency elections
Author: Damir Kapidžić
Title: Ethnic practice in electoral politics: Bosnia and Herzegovina’s 1990 Presidency elections
Journal: Southeast European and Black Sea Studies
Issue & pages: vol. 14, no. 4, pages 556–584
Democracy and democratic change do not come easy in plural societies and elections can be seen both as a potential hazard and a solution. This paper addresses the question whether electoral system designs with incentives for interethnic voting are able to support cross-ethnic and non-ethnic politics in plural societies. Focusing on the 1990 elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and based on newly available election data, the analysis looks at the electoral system for the seven-member Presidency. By quantitatively correlating measures of ethnic structure to election results on the municipal level, it is possible to find that cross-ethnic and non-ethnic voting in BiH was associated with high ethnic fractionalization, while high ethnic polarization had opposite effects. The interaction of electoral design and ethnic structure had a noticeable effect on the success of incentives for interethnic voting.
Keywords: electoral systems, plural societies, interethnic voting, ethnic fractionalization, ethnic polarization, Bosnia and Herzegovina