Gender Quotas Database

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Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia and Herzegovina) has a Bicameral parliament with legislated quotas for the single/lower house and at the sub-national level. 9 of 42 (21%) seats in the Predstavnicki dom / House of Representatives are held by women.

At a glance

Structure of Parliament: Bicameral

Are there legislated quotas...

  • For the Single/Lower House? Yes
  • For the Upper House? No
  • For the Sub-National Level? Yes

Are there voluntary quotas...

  • Adopted by political parties? No

Is there additional information?...

  • Yes

Last updated: Apr 16, 2019

Single/Lower House

Predstavnicki dom / House of Representatives

Total seats 42
Total Women 9
% Women 21%
Election Year 2018
Electoral System List PR
Quota Type Legislated Candidate Quotas¤
Election details IDEA Voter Turnout - IPU Parline
  Legal source Details
Quota type: Legislated Candidate Quotas¤ Constitution  
Electoral law

Each list of candidates shall include both male and female candidates, who are equally represented. Equal gender representation exists when one of the sexes is represented by at least 40% of the total number of candidates in the list.

The candidates of the underrepresented gender shall be distributed on the candidates list in the following manner: At least 1 candidate of the underrepresented gender amongst the first 2 candidates, 2 candidates of the underrepresented gender amongst the first 5 candidates, and 3 candidates of the underrepresented gender amongst the first 8 candidates etc. (Article 4.19 (4) Election Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina with amendments published in the Official Gazette No. 18/13).

Legal sanctions for non-compliance Electoral law

The Central Election Commission (CEC) checks whether the submitted list of candidates meets the requirements (established in Article 4.19 (4)) and certifies the list up to the point whereby the applicable requirements are met (Article 4.19 (8)). After receiving a notification from the CEC of any rejected individual candidates, the political party, coalition or list of independent candidates have 5 days to replace the candidates and resubmit them to the CEC for certification. (Article 4.21 (2))

Rank order/placement rules Electoral law

The candidates of the underrepresented gender shall be distributed on the candidates list in the following manner: At least 1 candidate of the underrepresented gender amongst the first 2 candidates, 2 candidates of the underrepresented gender amongst the first 5 candidates, and 3 candidates of the underrepresented gender amongst the first 8 candidates etc. (Article 4.19 (4)).

Is the provision of direct public funding to political parties related to gender equality among candidates? Yes

10% of the public funding budget is distributed to parliamentary groups proportional to the number of seats belonging to less represented gender


See more in International IDEA's Political Finance database
Are there provisions for other financial advantages to encourage gender equality in political parties? No  
See more in International IDEA's Political Finance database

Quota at the Sub-National Level

  • Quota type: Legislated Candidate Quotas¤
  Legal source Details
Quota type: Legislated Candidate Quotas¤ Constitution  
Electoral law

‘Each list of candidates shall include both male and female candidates, who are equally represented. Equal gender representation exists when one of the sexes is represented by at least 40% of the total number of candidates in the list. The candidates of the underrepresented gender shall be distributed on the candidates list in the following manner: At least 1 candidate of the underrepresented gender amongst the first 2 candidates, 2 candidates of the underrepresented gender amongst the first 5 candidates, and 3 candidates of the underrepresented gender amongst the first 8 candidates etc.’(Article 4.19 (4)).

Legal sanctions for non-compliance Electoral law

The Central Election Commission (CEC) checks whether the submitted list of candidates meets the requirements (established in Article 4.19 (4)) and certifies the list up to the point whereby the applicable requirements are met (Article 4.19 (8)). After receiving a notification from the CEC of any rejected individual candidates, the political party, coalition or list of independent candidates have 5 days to replace the candidates and resubmit them to the CEC for certification (Article 4.21 (2)).

Rank order/placement rules Electoral law

‘The candidates of the underrepresented gender shall be distributed on the candidates list in the following manner: At least 1 candidate of the underrepresented gender amongst the first 2 candidates, 2 candidates of the underrepresented gender amongst the first 5 candidates, and 3 candidates of the underrepresented gender amongst the first 8 candidates etc.’ (Article 4.19 (4)).

Additional Information

In 1998, the Provisional Election Commission adopted a minimum 30 per cent quota for women on every party list. In the 1998 elections this resulted in a dramatic increase in women’s representation at all legislative levels. In 2000, this rule was codified into the Election Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina and applied to all party lists in the 2000 national and municipal elections. However, the electoral law was reformed at the same time to provide an open-list proportional electoral system, which subsequently reduced the impact of legislated candidate quotas (International IDEA 2004: 39). In the 2014 election, "in line with recent amendments to the election law, 42 per cent of candidates were women" (OSCE/ ODIHR Election Observation Mission 2014: 12 ). However, women obtained only 21.4% of the seats, according to IPU (www.ipu.org) up from 17% in the 2010 elections. In the 2018 general elections, women candidate registration was considerable, but the percentage of women being elected into the Bosnia and Herzegovina House of Representatives (BiH HoR) remained at 21.4 %, and the share of women elected into the BiH HoR on state level decreased from 23 % in the 2014 elections to only 16 % (two women) in the 2018 elections (OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation MIssion 2018: 2, 14). 

Additional reading

  • Antic, M.G and Lokar, S. 2006. 'The Balkans: from total rejection to gradual acceptance of gender quotas', in Dahlerup, D. (ed.) Women, Quotas and Politics, London/New York: Routledge, pp. 138-167.
  • Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation. 2002. ‘A Compilation of NGO Reports from Balkan Countries:  Bosnia and Herzegovina.’ Implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). 2002. pp.54-85.
  • International Helsinki Federation (IHF) on Human Rights. 2002.
  • Stability Pact Gender Task Force (SPGTF). 2002. Building National Gender Equality Mechanisms in South East Europe – Women's Use of the State.
  • Woodward, Alison. 2001. ‘Women Are Doing It – Building a Gender Balanced Democracy using Sticks, Carrots and Kisses’. Stability Pact Gender Task Force Regional Meeting, Slovenia (SPGTF).
  • International Helsinki Federation (IHF) Report: Women 2000.
  • Association of Election Officials in BiH, www.aeobih.com.ba
  • Bosnian Government, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, www.mvp.gov.ba 
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina Parliament website, http://www.parlament.ba/
  • OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, http://www.oscebih.org/oscebih_eng.asp

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