Paradoxical and Insufficient? Gender Quotas and Placement Mandates in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s 2020 Local Elections
Bosnia and Herzegovina is ranked 73rd in the Global Gender Gap Index 2022. A questionable democratisation process, ethnonationalism, and changes in the political culture strongly affected gender equality, participation, and representation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This article tackles the impact of preferential voting on the representation of women in the local councils following the last Local Elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The effect of gender quotas and placement mandates are examined across the following determinants: electoral unit magnitude, local community urbanisation rate, ethnic composition of municipalities, and ideological foundation of political parties. To test the main objectives and research questions, this paper examines the impact of preferential voting on gender political representation. A complete dataset for all candidates and municipalities of the 2020 Local Elections, officially released by the State Election Commission, was used. The descriptive analysis indicates that 19.86% of women candidates have been elected to the local councils. With regards to the residence, female candidates from rural areas have a lower tendency of being elected than candidates from highly urban municipalities. Regarding ethnicity, the number of seats won by female candidates was the largest for candidates with a Serb majority, followed by the Bosniak and the Croat ones. When considering political orientation, female candidates from parties with centrist political orientation have a higher tendency of being elected, closely followed by female candidates from parties with a leftist orientation.
Keywords: Gender Gap; Preferential Voting; Representation; Electoral Systems; 2020 Local Elections; Bosnia and Herzegovina