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Political Parties

Forty-nine political parties applied to participate in the September elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Provisional Elections Commission of the OSCE rejected two political parties for failing to meet OSCE requirements. Therefore, 47 political parties took part in the elections. Twenty-seven political parties were from the Federtion of Bosnia and 20 from Republic Srpska.

Each political party had to sign a document in which it agreed to accept all parts of the Dayton peace agreement. Persons accused of war crimes by the International War Crime Tribunal were forbidden to run as candidates.

This section will only include political parties that had candidates for the highest levels of government: the Bosnian Parliament, the assemblies of the Bosnian Federation and Republic Srpska, and the Bosnian Presidency.


Coalition "United List of Bosnia and Herzegovina" - The coalition unites five opposition parties that overcame differences in ideology to join forces. Common denominators include:

  • They are all vocal opponents of nationalism.

  • They advocate a united Bosnia based on the principles of a civic society.

  • They look to the West for political models.

  • They are bitter enemies of the ruling parties, which they accuse of dismantling Bosnia. Members of the coalition are:

    • Croat Peasants Party of B&H - It is not exclusively nationalist, and on many points it does not differ from the so-called civic opposition. It is devoted to the ideal of a multi-ethnic Bosnia, in which all nations and citizens can enjoy equality and security.

    • Muslim Bosniac Organization (MBO) - The party advocates a united and multi-ethnic Bosnia. It says the SDA is dividing the country.

    • Republican Party of B&H - The party finds its ideals in Republican parties throughout the world and stands for a united Bosnia.

    • Social-Democratic Party of B&H (SDP) - This party is the legal successor of the former Union of Communists of Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is the classical left wing party. It calls for a united, multi-ethnic and civic Bosnia.

    • Union of B&H Social Democrats (UBSD) - The party has the reputation of being the sharpest critic of the current authorities and of the ruling SDA. It demands respect for human rights and resists any kind of nationalism. It has good relations with several left-wing parties in the Serb Republic.

Bosnian Party (BOSS) - It is characteristic of this party to support the creation of three national republics inside Bosnia, which means dissolving the Federation between Bosniacs and Croats. It is the only political party to oppose the running of Bosniac candidates in the Serb Republic, arguing that these candidates will take Bosniac votes away from the Federation and, thus, weaken the position of Bosniacs against the Croats.

Citizen Democratic Party of B&H (GDS) - This is the legal successor of the former Union of Socialists of B&H - a massive political organization that served as a broad front in the former Yugoslavia. The party defines itself as the political center and advocates a civic society with the individual citizen, and not separate nations as its foundation.

Croat Democratic Union of B&H (HDZ BiH) - The HDZ is strongly influenced by the HDZ in Croatia. It is an extremely nationalist party and wants Bosnia to be organized on a strictly national basis. The HDZ also tries to define itself as the protector of all Croats.

Croatian Party of Rights (HSP) - The party wants a united Bosnia with close ties to Croatia. At one time, the party considered Muslims to be Croats practicing Islam. However, the party seems to have abandoned this attitude.

Liberal Bosniak Organization B&H (LBO) - The party stands for a united Bosnia. It has a nationalist tendency, but rejects national exclusivity and the Islamicization of the state.

Liberal Party of B&H (LS) - This is the legal successor of the former Union of Socialist Youth of B&H. It defines itself as a party of the center and advocates a democratic and civic Bosnia. At the same time, it acknowledges the current division of the country and believes it will take a long time to overcome. It has strong ties to liberal parties in Europe and tries to apply their programs to Bosnia.

Democratic People's Union (NDZ) - The leaders of this party tried to form a separate republic of "Western Bosnia" and are now in exile in Croatia. They want a regionally constituted Bosnia that would have good relations with both Zagreb and Belgrade.

Party of Democratic Action (SDA) - The SDA tries to impose itself as the absolute leader of the Muslim people in Bosnia. It enjoys the advantages of a well-developed party machine in the Federation. Party organizations have also been formed among Muslim communities from the Serb Republic that were driven into exile. The party claims to be in the political center, but many observers see it as a right-wing party. It advocates a united and multi-ethnic Bosnia, but some of its actions suggest that it favors a purer nationalism.

Party of Economic Prosperity of B&H (SPP) - This political party includes mainly businessmen from Zenica, Sarajevo and Tuzla. It argues that only economic ties can reintegrate Bosnia. Its slogan is "Look what you're living on!"

Party for B&H (SzBiH) - This party strongly supports a united Bosnia. It defines itself as politically centrist and tries to reconcile the differences between East and West. Membership includes disillusioned members of the SDA, well-known intellectuals and former officers of the Bosnian Army. Women are prominent in the party.

Woman of B&H - The party supports the emancipation of women and their struggle for equality in Bosnia.

B&H Patriotic Party (BHPS) - Among members of the party are a few figures from the political and military scene who were replaced in their functions after the first period of war.


People's Union for Peace - This coaltion unites three left-wing parties and the Social-Liberal Party. This coalition is the only political force in the Serb Republic that does not reject outright the possibility of Serbs living together with non-Serbs. Because of this, it enjoys the mild support of some left-wing opposition parties in the Federation. RS authorities have put the coalition under great pressure and have characterized it as a traitor to the Serb people. Members of the coalition are:

  • Social-Liberal Party (SLS RS) - A civic-oriented party, opposing nationalism and the policies of exclusion. It cooperates with parties in B&H on similar belief. Its aim is to build a society based on the individual. It calls for multi-ethnicity in BiH and for overcoming the consequences of the war through cooperation between the two entities.

  • Independent Social-Democrats RS (SNS RS) - One of the strongest political parties in the Serb entity. The party has branches in the largest communities, cooperates with the Socialist Party RS. It calls for a market economy and a just social policy. It supports the Dayton Treaty as a condition for creating a parliamentary democracy.

  • Yugoslav United Left RS (JUL) - An opposition democratic party, it claims to be independent of the JUL in Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It supports national rights, national and religious tolerance and vows to fight crime and war profiteers. Enjoys the support of former communist activists.

  • Socialist Party RS (SPRS) - One of the strongest parties in the Serb Republic. Has an almost identical program to the Socialist Party of Serbia. It supports the Dayton Treaty as the key to solving the Serb national question.

  • Democratic Patriotic Block of RS (DPB) - This is a coalition of five small, centrist parties, none of which is organized in more than a third of the Serb Republic. On the whole, the coalition does not approve of exclusivity, as do some parties in RS, and it stands for a strict application of the Dayton plan. However, it supports strong ties with Serbia and Montenegro. Members of this coalition are:

    • Democratic Center Party from Trebinje (SDC)
    • Homeland Party Banja Luka
    • People's Radical Party from Banja Luka
    • Party of Peasants and Workers from Kozarska Dubica
    • Democrat Party from Bijeljina

  • Radical Party RS (SRS RS) - A nationalist party of the right wing; supports the SDS. It demands a Serb state and unification with Serbia.

  • Serb Patriotic Party (SPAS) - A "Warriors' Party," made up of former officers and soldiers. SPAS supports an independent RS and opposes reintegration with the Federation. It runs what it calls a pro-European social-liberal campaign, fighting for the defense of RS and for respecting the rights of ethnic groups.

  • Serb Democratic Party (SDS) - The ruling nationalist party with a powerful party machine and many branches. It's aim is to realize all the favors offered by the Dayton treaty, plus sovereignty for the Serb Republic. It identifies itself with the destiny of the Serb people.

  • Serb Party of Krajina (SSK) - A young party of the right center, organized by SDS dissidents. It prefers RS as a republic of regions.

  • Democratic of Federalists of RS (DSF) - The party takes its name from the time of Yugoslavia, when it opposed confederation tendencies and supported the federation. Close to the SDS.

  • Serb Peasants' Party (SSP) - Stands for an independent RS and agricultural development.

  • Party of Serb Unity - This is a branch of the party with the same name in Serbia.

  • Radical Homeland Front "Nikola Pasic" - This party stands for unification with Serbia and a return of the monarchy.

  • People's Party of RS - Defines itself as a party of the center, preferring unification with Serbia. Supported by disillusioned members of the SDS.

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btn_prev.gif 1.18 KAppendix A: Glossary and Acronyms
btn_next.gif 1.18 KAppendix C: Elections Timeline

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