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Yugoslavia Table of Contents


Bosnia and Hercegovina

In the 1980s, the political positions of Bosnia-Hercegovina (respectively, the northern and southern parts of a region administered as a unit since the eighteenth century) were consistently conservative and cool to the reforms adopted in other republics. This political atmosphere changed dramatically in the late 1980s. The entire political structure of BosniaHercegovina was shaken by the Agrokomerc banking scandal of 1987, which the Yugoslav press compared to the American Watergate scandal. Hamdija Pozderac, vice president and Bosnian representative in the national State Presidency, was forced to resign because of his link to Agrokomerc. A number of republiclevel officials also resigned, and more than 100 party members were arrested. The scandal revealed corrupt financial dealings of politicians all over Yugoslavia, but public trust was most badly damaged in the republic where the scandal began. After wholesale replacement of political figures, a young group of progressives, led by President Nijaz Djurakovic, came to power in 1989.

When the new Yugoslav State Presidency was chosen in 1989, students and progressive members of the republic's Socialist Alliance of working People exerted pressure for popular election of the new representative from Bosnia and Hercegovina. Although this did not occur, pressure for democratization was a significant new phenomenon. On national issues, BosniaHercegovina reflected its own multi-ethnic composition of Serbs, Croats, and over 30 percent Muslims. The ethnic balance, which had been maintained by conservative policies until the late 1980s, was threatened by intensification of nationalist movements elsewhere in the federation. By 1990 the republic found itself torn and manipulated by the Serb-Slovene and Serb-Croat conflicts. The official position of Bosnia and Hercegovina in 1990 strongly supported reconciliation of ethnic differences in the federation, while defending the ethnic individuality of the republics against homogenization.

Data as of December 1990