This thesis explores the achievements of consociational and integrative political institutional structures in the difficult task to foster cooperation between political elites from different ethnic groups in a post-civil war context. While the consociational approach argues that institutions that are based on group-protection and mechanisms for securing group interests are most effective in the promotion of inter-ethnic elite cooperation in ethnically divided societies, the opposing integrative approach maintains that an institutional structure that creates integrative dynamics without been based on ethnicity are more effective in this respect.
In order to test these divergent claims, this study presents a two-step comparative examination of institutional structures and the levels of inter-ethnic elite cooperation in the two Bosnian municipalities Mostar and Brcko.
Firstly, the two power-sharing agreements, the Mostar Interim Statute and the Brcko District Statute, that devised the post-war institutional system of the two municipalities, are analysed in order to determine whether the structures adopted in the two cities can be seen as a consociational or an integrative structure. The findings show that while in Mostar a structure containing the institutional mechanisms prescribed by the consociationalist model was adopted, the structure devised for Brcko was in line with integrative mechanisms.
Secondly, the level of inter-ethnic elite cooperation in the two cities are analysed in order to determine whether the Mostar consociational structure or the Brcko integrative structure most effectively have contributed to the promotion of inter-ethnic elite cooperation, and thereby to test the claims inherent in the theoretical approaches. Identifying the level of inter-ethnic elite cooperation in the two municipalities is done through comparing elite behaviour in the process to establish the institutions, the elite responses to electoral dynamics four years after the institutions were established and the over-all functionality of the institutions.
The findings indicate that the level of inter-ethnic elite cooperation over-all was higher in Brcko than in Mostar, thus supporting the initial integrative claim that an institutional structure containing mechanisms prescribed by this model are more effective in promotion of inter-ethnic elite cooperation than the consociational ones.
Moreover, the findings show that international actors had a great influence on elite behaviour and the elite’s motivations for cooperating both in Mostar and Brcko. It may seem like this factor was a more important determinant in creating cooperative dynamics than the institutional structures. This does not mean that the character of institutional systems in post-conflict societies where international actors are direct engaged in peacebudiling not are important, rather, it suggests that the international actor dimension not should be ignored in the field of power-sharing theory.