The electoral system in Bosnia and Herzegovina


  • Elections in BiH: Annex 3 Agreement on Elections of the General Framework Agreement for peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

  • Election Law of BiH was passed on 19.09.2001.

  • It has 20 Chapters.

  • From 2001 to 2020 there were 20 changes and  amendments to the BiH Election Law.



I. Announcing elections

  • The BiH Central Election Commission announces election 150 days prior to the Election Day.

  • The elections are held on first Sunday of October.

  • There are General and Municipal/Local elections.

  • From 1996 to 2020 a total of eight (8) electoral cycles for several levels of authority were held (1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018) and six (6) electoral cycles for local bodies of authority – municipal bodies (1997, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016).

  • The Central Election Commission of BiH has announced the Local Elections in 2020, that will be held on November 15, 2020


II. Election administration in Bosnia and Herzegovina



III. Voters‘ registration and maintenance of the Central Voters‘ Register



IV. Certification and candidacy

  •  Application for certification to participate in the elections can be filed by:

  • political parties and independent candidates 135 days before the Election day, and

  • Coalitions and lists of independent candidates 110 days before the Election Day.


  •  Candidates‘ list are submitted 90 days prior to the Election Day.

  •  Candidates‘ list must have both male and female candidates.

  •  Applying the rules of candidates‘ unfitness and incompatibility.

Voting is done at the polling stations, which the municipal election commission determines no later than 65 days before the Election Day.


V. Conduct of the elections

Types of polling stations:

  • Regular polling stations,

  • Polling stations for voting in absentia; and

  • Polling stations that issue tendered ballots.

Voting lasts throughout the day, starting at 7 a.m. and ending at 7 p.m.


VI. Protection of electoral right

Protection of electoral right is ensured by:

  • election commissions, and

  • Appellate Division of the BiH Court.


Complaints may be filed by:

  •  a voter; and

  •  a political subject.


Complaint is filed within 48 hours following the infringement.
Election commission can launched ex-officio procedures.

MECs can order corrective measures, whilst the BIH CEC is authorized to pronounce sanctions.




VII. Participation of representatives of national minorities

Representatives of all national minorities in BIH have the right to elected their representatives in the municipal councils.

Number of representatives of national minorities in MC/MA:

  •  above 3% at least 1 reserved/guaranteed seat.


Representatives of national minorities can be nominated by:

  • political subjects,

  • citizens‘ associations, and

  • 40 citizens.



 Main characteristics of election system in BiH:

  • Majority and proportional system,

  • System of closed, non-blocked list,

  • Mandatory women representation on the candidates’ lists,

  • Threshold (3%),

  • multi-member constituencies,

  •  Compensatory mandates,

  •  Brčko District of BiH – FBIH and RS voting option,

  •  nonconformity with the Convention on protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms (BiH Presidency, House of Peoples of the BiH PA),

  • Special rights of displaced persons and refugees.