Bosnia and Herzegovina
The State of Democracy Assessment Framework was implemented in 2006 by the Open Society Fund Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ten years after the first democratic elections, a democracy assessment was needed not only to analyse practical achievements but also to evaluate the existence of a democratic spirit within the divided society. In accordance with the Dayton Accords, Bosnia and Herzegovina is governed by a system of two separate entities (Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina).
Though previous reviews were conducted, the State of Democracy was the first assessment initiated by experts and researchers from the country. The entire research process lasted a year and involved 14 researchers and over 200 local experts. The assessment methodology was adapted to undertake the 14 sections one at a time. The researchers also commissioned Prism Research to put together an expert panel, which included academics, public officials, representatives of civil society, NGOs and the media. This panel was in charge of evaluating the assessment and assigning grades to every pillar and indicator. Their answers and assessments were scaled from 1 (very low) to 5 (very high), and a final graph with numerical scores is provided. The experts also suggested a set of recommendations for every aspect.
Despite the progress made in establishing peace, this assessment showed that in 2008 there was still much to do in order to overcome ethnic rivalry and hostility, and to consolidate legitimate and effective democratic institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A positive and promising result of the assessment was the Open Society Fund’s establishment of the online journal Puls Demokratije (Pulse of Democracy). This journal has been a leading voice and an active discussion forum for increasing awareness of ongoing democratic challenges as well as promoting debate and critically reflecting on the socio-political developments in the country.
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