Like other Mostar residents, Irma Baralija was unable to vote or stand in local elections because of a legal void that left the city without a functioning democracy for over a decade.
In 2010, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s constitutional court ruled that Mostar’s post-war voting arrangements were unlawful. The court told parliament to change the election law.
But after parliament failed to act, the court invalidated certain parts of the law.
Mostar residents were unable to vote in the elections of 2012 and 2016. During this time, the city was governed by a mayor who lacked democratic legitimacy.
High-school teacher Irma Baralija, who is also active in local politics in Mostar, decided to take a case against her government to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.