Citizen participation in decision-making processes has an unusual history in countries of the former Yugoslavia. Nowadays it is at a relatively low level in all of them, especially when compared with most other European countries. Although Yugoslavia cannot be considered to have been a democracy, it still had strong participation mechanisms that engaged citizens. This was best seen in examples of workers’ management, an exciting idea of not just workplace democratisation but also a tool for strengthening capacities and involvement of workers in decision-making processes.
After the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, most of the countries went through a fast and merciless transition: not just of an economic system that was intertwined with privatisation, theft and corruption but also of a political system. Although all countries presented themselves as transformed and democratic, in reality, all of them experienced years of leaders and/or political parties that had more in common with authoritarian rulers than democratic leaders.