Local peace initiatives have been introduced in post-conflict settings in aid of statebuilding processes. However, contradictions in such efforts that undermine the state become apparent in a development context when government institutions are, generally, functioning. Peacebuilding initiatives in the arid lands of Kenya are a good example of this. While they have proved successful in resolving conflicts at the local level, they challenge the state structure in three ways. First, some of their features run counter to the official laws of Kenya and jeopardize the separation of powers. Second, they pose a dilemma, since their success and legitimacy are based on grassroots leadership and local concepts of justice. Both can be at odds with democratic decision-making, inclusiveness and gender equity. Third, they provide yet another tool for abuse by politicians and other local leaders. This reveals a dilemma: aspects of peacebuilding can actually undermine a statebuilding endeavour.
The electoral system for the state presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina guarantees the representation of the three constituent people, Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats, but it violates the political rights of other ethnic minorities and of citizens who do not identify themselves with any ethnic group. Following the 2009 judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, Bosnia was urged to reform its electoral law. This paper discusses alternative practices of ethnically based political representation and their possible application in the Bosnian state presidency elections. Several innovative electoral models that satisfy fair political and legal criteria for desirable electoral dynamics in divided societies can be envisaged in the Bosnian context. Specifically, these are: the introduction of a single countrywide electoral district, the adoption of the single non-transferable vote, and the application of a geometrical mean rule. They guarantee the representation of the three constituent people, while strengthening inter-ethnic voting and giving chances to non-nationalist candidates to be elected.