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Entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina

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The political divisions of Bosnia and Herzegovina were created by the Dayton Agreement, which recognized a second tier of government in Bosnia and Herzegovina comprising two entities – a joint Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) (mostly Bosniak and Croat) and the Republika Srpska (RS) (mostly Serb and Bosniak) – each presiding over roughly one half of the state's territory. Today, all three ethnic groups have an equal constitutional status on the whole territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Overview


The Federation and the RS governments are charged with overseeing internal functions. Each has its own government, flag and coat of arms, president, parliament, police & customs departments, and postal system. The police sectors are overseen by the state-level ministry of internal affairs. Today, Bosnia and Herzegovina has one Armed forces, but until 2005, both entities had their own armies.

Inter-entity borders are not determined on natural geographical features of the region. Its borders were postulated as part of the political agreement that was based on ethnic division and are used to determine the extents of political jurisdictions within entities. On the ground there is no active border between RS and FBiH and one would generally not know the difference when crossing from one entity into another.

The city of Brčko in northeastern Bosnia is a seat of the Brčko district, a self-governing administrative unit under the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina; it is part of both the Federation and Republika Srpska. The district remains under international supervision.

The Federation is further divided into cantons, which are then subdivided into municipalities. Republika Srpska is divided directly into municipalities.

Amendments to the divisions

On the grounds that the Dayton Agreement's framework is outdated, many groups have come forth with ways to redevelop the divisions of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Agreement was initially designed to effectively end the war in the nation, but the divisions have made the bureaucracy of the country unwieldy.

Generally speaking, the nation's Bosniak population wishes for the state to be centralized, eliminating the Federation, as well as the Republika Srpska. Officials in the Republika Srpska vehemently resist this idea. Many Serbs assume that if Kosovo achieves independence, Republika Srpska will separate from Bosnia and Herzegovina, eventually joining Serbia. However, the Office of the High Representative has come out and specifically denied the prospect of any such exchange. The Bosnian Croats view the current situation as discriminatory, and seek either the abolition of entities and foundation of a decentralized governmental structure or a third entity.

External links

  • The Economist, 22 January 1998
  • Centre for Eastern Studies 2011
  • Centre for Eastern Studies 2011
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