Referendum in BiH: Opening of a Pandora’s box or a continuation of post-Dayton stalemate?

Milorad Dodik, the leader of Bosnian Serbs and the current president of Republika Srpska, has a thing for referenda. The first time he came up with the idea to hold one was, when following the Montenegro and Kosovo cases, he figured out that independence is still possible in the Balkans and that inviolability of frontiers stemming from the Helsinki Final Act is not a mantra anymore. The 2011 call for a referendum on independence marked the beginning of an open confrontation between Dodik and the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Valentin Inzko.  International commentators talked about Dodik bringing Bosnia to the brink of war. Following the expected deadlock at the UN Security Council (with Russia backing Dodik’s claim), Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) entered the negotiation. The referendum was called off and the situation reverted to the status quo.

October 19, 2016 - Věra Stojarová