What to do if people vote along ethnic lines rather than the parties’ political programme? We explore this phenomenon in our simulation game “Coalition-building in a multi-ethnic state. Since first being used in a training seminar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is now a regular training tool all over the country.
20 years after its declaration of independence, the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) are still mostly voting along ethnicity lines – the actual political orientation of a party usually seems to come second. In response to this phenomenon, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) invited us to Sarajevo several times. There, we were joined by dedicated young people from all three ethnic groups for a training seminar that included the fictional simulation game “Coalition-building in a multi-ethnic state” – the basic premise of the game being that after parliamentary elections, none of the ethnically defined parties have an absolute majority, making it necessary to collaborate with parties from other ethnic groups. The question is now to what extent content-related overlaps among the parties actually get to play a role.
In accord with the suggestions of the KAS, the aim of the game is to initiate a process of reflection in the participants – isn’t content more important than ethnic background?
Some time after this training seminar, participants got in touch to tell us that they successfully played the game in their respective hometowns – we were delighted to find the project to be so sustainable. However, hoping that it will help to change voting habits in BiH would probably be somewhat presumptuous.
Facts + Figures
Young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Reflecting on the party-political spectrum in Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Reflecting on the question of significance of ethnic background vs. content-related demands
- Being able to facilitate the game in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sarajevo/Bosnia and Herzegovina
I really enjoyed the simulation game and I would like to thank you for this fantastic collaboration!
Dr. Christina Krause, former director of the office in Sarajevo