Mostar. Photo: flickr/Michel27
Mostar. Photo: flickr/Michel27

Official Name:

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)

Date of independence:

1 March 1992 (independence day)


3,791,622, of which 2,371,603 in the Federation (FBiH), 1,326,991 in Republika Srpska (RS), and 93,028 in the Brcko District ( Census 2013, preliminary results). Most citizens belong to one of the following three ethnic groups: Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims), Serbs and Croats.

Capital city:

Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina and of the Federation; Banja Luka is the capital of Republika Srpska

Other important cities:

Mostar, Tuzla, Zenica, Bijelina


51,209,2 sq km

Bordering States:

Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro

Main religions:

Islam, Orthodox and Catholic Christianity


Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian




Convertible Mark (KM) [1 EUR = 1,95 KM]. The KM is tied to German Mark/Euro under a currency board


EUR 13,158 million = KM 25,734 million (2012, BHAS)

GDP per capita:

EUR 3,430 = KM 6,709 (2012, BHAS)


39.7% (2012, Eurostat)

Average monthly net wage:

EUR 423 = 826 KM (March 2014, BHAS)



Short chronology of EU accession:

25 November 2005

Launch of negotiations on the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between the EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina

4 December 2007

Stabilisation and Association Agreement initialled

20 February 2008

Signing of the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance Framework Agreement (IPA). A financial envelope of EUR 440 million was allocated to Bosnia and Herzegovina for the period 2007-2011

5 June 2008

Bosnia and Herzegovina is granted a roadmap for visa liberalization

16 June 2008

Signing of both the SAA and the Interim Agreement

1 July 2008

Interim Agreement enters into force

8 November 2010

EU Council of Ministers approves visa liberalisation, which enters into force on 15 December 2010



Prime ministers (Chairmen of the Council of Ministers) from 1992 to 1997

3 March 1992 – 9 Nov 1992

Jure Pelivan (Croatian Democratic Union – HDZ)

9 Nov 1992 – 25 Oct 1993

Mile Akmadzic (Croatian Democratic Union – HDZ)

25 Oct 1993 – 30 Jan 1996

Haris Silajdzic (Party of Democratic Action – SDA)

30 Jan 1996 – 3 Jan 1997

Hasan Muratovic (Non-affiliated)


Co-Chairmen of the Council of Ministers from 1997 to 2000

3 Jan 1997 – 3 Feb 1999

Haris Silajdzic (Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina - SBiH); Boro Bosic (Serbian Democratic Party - SDS)

3 Feb 1999 – 6 June 2000


Haris Silajdzic (Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina - SBiH); Svetovar Mihajlovic (Socialist Party of RS - SPRS)

Chairmen of the Council of Ministers since 2000

6 June 2000 – 18 Oct 2000

Spasoje Tusevljak (Non-affiliated)

18 Oct 2000 – 22 Feb 2001

Martin Raguz (Croatian Democratic Union of BiH – HDZ)

22 Feb 2001 – 18 July 2001

Bozidar Matic (Social Democratic Party of BiH - SDP)

18 July 2001 – 15 March 2002

Zlatko Lagumdzija (Social Democratic Party of BiH – SDP)

15 March 2002 – 23 Dec 2002

Dragan Mikerevic (Party of Democratic Progress – PDP)

23 Dec 2002 – 11 Jan 2007


Adnan Terzic (Party of Democratic Action – SDA)

11 Jan 2007 – 12 Jan 2012

Nikola Spiric (Alliance of Independent Social Democrats – SNSD)

Since 12 Jan 2012

Vjekoslav Bevanda (HDZ BiH)



Membership in international organisations



22 May 1992


30 April 1992

Council of Europe

24 April 2002


14 December 2006 – Partnership for Peace
22 April 2010 – launching of Membership Action Plan




The international role:

The Dayton Peace Agreement established the High Representative to oversee the implementation of the civilian aspects of the agreement. Valentin Inzko, an Austrian diplomat, has been the High Representative since March 2009. The High Representative has the power to dismiss domestic officials and to impose legislation. From 2002 to 2011, the High Representative also acted as an EU Special Representative. The EU now has a separate Special Representative, who is also head of the EU Delegation to Bosnia. Since 2011 this post has been held by Peter Soerensen.

Structure of Bosnia and Herzegovina:

As a result of the 1992-1995 war fought between Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats, Bosnia's constitutional structure is decentralised and complex. Bosnia is divided in two "entities", the Bosniak-Croat Federation and the Serb-dominated Republika Srpska. The Federation is further divided in 10 Cantons. (Additionally, there is the District of Brcko, which does not belong to either Entity.) This set-up was agreed in the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords, as well as the 1994 Federation Agreement, which ended fighting between Croats and Bosniaks and created the Federation as their common political structure.

Central Government:

The Bosnian central government has 9 ministries and only a limited number of responsibilities. The prime minister, known formally as the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, is currently Vjekoslav Bevanda, a Croat.

The three-member Presidency is Bosnia and Herzegovina's highest political institution, but has a largely representational function. The Serb member is directly elected by RS citizens, while citizens of the Federation vote either for the Bosniak or the Croat member. The three current members are Bakir Izetbegovic (Bosniak), Nebojsa Radmanovic (Bosnian Serb) and Zeljko Komsic (Bosnian Croat). The chairmanship of the Presidency rotates between the three members every 8 months. The state-level parliament, the Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has two chambers:

  • The House of Representatives with 48 elected members.
  • The House of Peoples (15 deputies appointed by the two entity parliaments – 5 Serbs, 5 Bosniaks, 5 Croats).


Republika Srpska (RS):

Republika Srpska (RS), one of the two entities, has its own government and president, currently Milorad Dodik. The prime minister is Zeljka Cvijanovic. The RS also has a parliament of its own, the 83-member National Assembly.

Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH):

The other entity, the Federation (FBiH), has its own president, who is elected by parliament. This is currently Živko Budimir, a Bosnian Croat of the Croatian Party of Rights (HSP). The prime minister is Nermin Nikšić, a Bosniak belonging to the Social Democratic Party, SDP. The Federation has a two-chamber parliament: a House of Representatives (98 directly elected members) and a House of Peoples (58 delegates from the Cantons). Of the 10 Cantons, five have a Bosniak majority, three have a Croat majority, and two are mixed. Each Canton has a government and a parliament.


After an international arbitration process between 1996 and 1999, the strategically important town of Brcko linking eastern and western RS as well as the Federation with Croatia, was awarded the status of a district. It is not part of either entity, has its own jurisdiction (apart from state-level laws, which apply across Bosnia). Until May 2012, Brcko had a special international supervisor. Following the PIC meeting on 23 May 2012, the mandate of the supervisor was suspended but not terminated.

Political Parties:

The last general elections (for both the State Presidency and the House of Representatives) were held on 3 October 2010. The following parties are represented in the House of Representatives:

  • The Social Democratic Party (SDP BiH), which gained 8 out of a total of 42 seats, has its origins in the League of Communists of BiH. It is led by Zlatko Lagumdzija. After eight years in opposition, the SDP has emerged as the strongest party in the state parliament. It claims to be a multi-ethnic party, but is largely Bosniak-dominated.
  • The Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) of Republika Srpska president Milorad Dodik also gained 8 seats, remaining the largest Serb-dominated party. The SNSD frequently calls for more autonomy for Republika Srpska.
  • The Party of Democratic Action (SDA), founded in 1990 by the late Alija Izetbegovic, is now led by Sulejman Tihic. It came third, gaining 7 seats. The Bosniak-dominated party claims to be pro-European and is an observer member of the European People's Party (EPP) in the European Parliament.
  • The Serb Democratic Party (SDS) of Mladen Bosic secured 4 seats. Co-founded and initially led by indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic, it was the principal Bosnian Serb party before, during and well after the war. Since 2006 it has lost ground to Dodik's SNSD.
  • The new Alliance for a Better Future for Bosnia and Herzegovina (SBB BiH), led by Bosnian businessman Fahruddin Radoncic, also won 4 seats.
  • The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ BiH) of Dragan Covic won 3 seats, only one more than its rival, the Croatian Coalition HDZ 1990. Led by Bozo Ljubic, the party calls itself the "real HDZ" in protest against what it perceives as the HDZ BiH's corruption and authoritarianism. HDZ 1990 ran in an alliance with the Croatian Party of the Right (HSB BiH) headed by Daniel Srb. Both participate in the ruling coalition.
  • The conservative Party of BiH (SBIH) of former Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic suffered a major defeat, losing six of its previously held eight parliamentary seats.
  • The Democratic People's Alliance (DNS), a Republika Srpska based party, is the smallest coalition partner. It gained one seat.

The following parties gained one seat each: the Party of Democratic Progress (PDP); the People's Party Work for Betterment (NSRZB) and the Democratic People's Union of BiH (DNZ-BIH).

Owing to the very tight election results, no party was in a position to secure an outright majority of seats. It took more than 14 months before a government was approved by parliament on 10 February 2012. The ruling coalition included the SDP, SNSD, SDA, SDS, HDZ and HDZ 1990 and is led by Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Vjekoslav Bevanda (HDZ).

Following a dispute between the SDP and SDA, SDA ministers were removed from their posts in June 2012. The coalition government was instead joined by Radoncic's SBB BiH.

An up-to-date list of all political groups represented in the state-level Parliament is available at

20 June 2014

Bosnia and the EU
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Background information
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