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Serb Democratic Party (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Serb Democratic Party

Српска демократска странка
Srpska demokratska stranka
LeaderMirko Šarović
FounderRadovan Karadžić
Founded12 July 1990
HeadquartersIstočno Sarajevo
IdeologySerbian nationalism[1]
National conservatism
Political positionRight-wing[2]
National affiliationAlliance for Victory
House of Representatives of BiH
3 / 42
House of Peoples of BiH
1 / 15
National Assembly of Republika Srpska
13 / 83

The Serb Democratic Party (Serbian: Српска демократска странка/Srpska demokratska stranka or СДС/SDS) is a Serb political party in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is currently led by Mirko Šarović, who succeeded Vukota Govedarica.

In the parliamentary elections of October 2006, the SDS lost its status as the leading party in Republika Srpska and the main Serb party in Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), led by the Prime Minister of Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik.[3] Despite making minor gains in the 2010 and 2014 elections, by 2018 the party had fallen to below 20% of the parliament, the lowest seat standing in its history.

The Serb Democratic Party is under sanctions from the United States for "failing to arrest and turn over war crimes suspects to an international tribunal." The sanctions prohibit any transfer of funds and material from the United States to the SDS and vice versa.[4][5] The party is on the list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons by the Office of Foreign Assets Control U.S. agency.[6]



Radovan Karadžić founded the Serb Democratic Party in 1990. The party aimed at unifying the Bosnian Serb community, as Jovan Rašković's Serb Democratic Party did with the Serbs in Croatia, and staying part of Yugoslavia (as the "Third Yugoslavia" with Serbia and Montenegro) in the event of secession by those two republics from the federation.[7]


Throughout September 1991, the SDS began to establish various "Serb Autonomous Regions" throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. After the Bosnian parliament voted on sovereignty on 15 October 1991, a separate Serb Assembly was founded on 24 October 1991 in Banja Luka, in order to exclusively represent the Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The following month, Bosnian Serbs held a referendum which resulted in an overwhelming vote in favour of staying in a federal state with Serbia and Montenegro, as part of Yugoslavia. In December 1991, a top secret document entitled ‘For the organisation and activity of organs of the Serbs people in Bosnia-Herzegovina in extraordinary circumstances’ was drawn up by the SDS leadership. This was a centralised programme for the takeover of each municipality in the country, through the creation of shadow governments and para-governmental structures through various "crisis headquarters", and by preparing loyal Serbs for the takeover in co-ordination with the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA).[8]


Historically, the party had strong Serbian nationalist,[1] separatist[1] and Islamophobic ideology. Recently, the party switched from far-right and adopted more modest right-wing national-conservative views.

Presidents of the Serb Democratic Party

# President Life Term start Term end
1 Radovan Karadžić 1945– 1990 1996
2 Aleksa Buha 1939– 1996 1998
3 Dragan Kalinić 1948– 1998 2004
4 Dragan Čavić 1958– 2004 2006
5 Mladen Bosić 1961– 2006 2016
6 Vukota Govedarica 1976– 2016 2019
7 Mirko Šarović 1956– 2019

Electoral results

Parliamentary elections

Parliament of Republika Srpska
Year Popular vote % of popular vote # of seats Seat change Coalition Government
1996 568.980 52.3%
45 / 83
N/A government
1997 Unknown 28.9%
24 / 83
Decrease 21 opposition
1998 160.594 21.7%
19 / 83
Decrease 5 opposition
2000 226.226 36.1%
31 / 83
Increase 12 government
2002 159.164 31.2%
26 / 83
Decrease 5 government
2006 103.035 18.27%
17 / 83
Decrease 9 opposition
2010 120.136 18.97%
18 / 83
Increase 1 opposition
2014 173.824 26.26%
21 / 83
Increase 3 SRS RS opposition
2018 123.515 18,04%
16 / 83
Decrease 5 SRS RS opposition

Presidential elections

President of Republika Srpska
Election year # Candidate Votes % Note
1996 Steady 1st Biljana Plavšić 636.654 59,2%
1998 Steady 1st Nikola Poplašen 322.684 43,9% Support
2000 Steady 1st Mirko Šarović 313.572 49,8%
2002 Steady 1st Dragan Čavić 183.121 35,9%
2006 Decrease 2nd Dragan Čavić 163.041 29,4%
2007 Steady 2nd Ognjen Tadić 142.898 33,8%
2010 Steady 2nd Ognjen Tadić 227.239 35,92%
2014 Steady 2nd Ognjen Tadić 296.021 44,28%
2018 Steady 2nd Vukota Govedarica 284.140 41,81

Positions held

Major positions held by Serb Democratic Party members:

President of Republika Srpska Years
Radovan Karadžić 1992–1996
Biljana Plavšić 1996–1998
Mirko Šarović 2000–2002
Dragan Čavić 2002–2006
President of Republika Srpska National Assembly Years
Momčilo Krajišnik 1992–1996
Dragan Kalinić 1996–1998
Dušan Stojičić 2004–2006
Prime Minister of Republika Srpska Years
Branko Đerić 1992–1993
Vladimir Lukić 1993–1994
Dušan Kozić 1994–1995
Rajko Kasagić 1995–1996
Gojko Kličković 1996–1998
Pero Bukejlović 2005–2006
Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Years
Momčilo Krajišnik 1996–1998
Mirko Šarović 2002–2003
Borislav Paravac 2003–2006


  1. ^ a b c d Nordsieck, Wolfram (2018). "Bosnia-Herzegovina". Parties and Elections in Europe. Retrieved 11 October 2018. Cite error: The named reference "Nordsieck" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  2. ^ Nardelli, Alberto; Dzidic, Denis; Jukic, Elvira (8 October 2014). "Bosnia and Herzegovina: the world's most complicated system of government?". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  3. ^ Eralp, Doğa U. (2012). Politics of the European Union in Bosnia-Herzegovina: Between Conflict and Democracy. Lexington Books. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-7391-4945-4.
  4. ^ [1] Archived 22 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "US Places Sanctions on Bosnian Serb Officials". L.A. Times. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 26 October 2015. Retrieved 27 November 2015. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said that, under the sanctions, any assets the Serbian Democratic Party had in the United States would be frozen. In addition, he said, any members of that party or its partner, the Party for Democratic Progress, would be banned from entering the United States.
  6. ^ "Office of Foreign Assets Control black list" (PDF). Office of Foreign Assets Control. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  7. ^ "Raškovićeva SDS obnovljena u Beogradu" (in Serbian). Vesti online. 5 March 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  8. ^ Gow, James (2003). The Serbian Project and Its Aversaries: A Strategy of War Crimes. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. pp. 122–123. ISBN 1850654999.

External links