No major changes after elections in BiH
Elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina appear to have perpetuated the country's persistent ethnic divisions. With the votes counted, results show that in the contest for the tripartite presidency, Muslim and Croatian voters have chosen moderates who favor cooperation, but in the Serbian entity, the winning candidate stands for separatism.
Tuesday, 05 October 2010
Some 3 million voters in a country uneasily split between Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats were choosing from a total field of 8,000 candidates for the central and several regional parliaments and the presidency, which is shared by the three ethnic groups.
-Bosnia vote points to deadlock on ethnic lines
Fifteen years after the devastating ethnic war sparked by the post-Soviet break-up of Yugoslavia and five postwar elections, the vote is still expected to fall along ethnic lines.
The preliminary election results underlined the risks, with Muslims and Croats favoring leaders advocating national unity and Bosnian Serbs choosing candidates who called for the country’s breakup.
The son of Bosnia's wartime Muslim leader, Bakir Izetbegovic, is set to become one of its three presidents, election results showed yesterday (4 October). Analysts said he seems ready to work with other ethnic groups in the divided country.
"We are going to stabilise the situation in Bosnia and bring a better future to the citizens of Bosnia," Izetbegovic told Reuters Television. "This means peace, better conditions for developing the economy and employment."
The current Croat member of the presidency, Zeljko Komsic, a moderate who comes from a multiethnic party, also won another four-year term.
However, according to early returns and party claims, the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) of Milorad Dodik, who threatened secession from Bosnia during the election campaign, was far ahead in the Serb half of the Balkan country.
Analysts said that Bosnia’s already fragile cohesion remained under serious threat because of the strong showing of Milorad Dodik. The leading contender to be the Serb representative on the country’s presidency, Nebojsa Radmanovic, also wants Bosnian Serbs to seek independence, and was only three percent in front of Dodik. Thirteen percent of the ballots was ruled void.
-Election 'will only bring minor changes'
As for the country's future, Raif Dizdarevic, former Bonsian politician who held senior positions in the Yugoslav regime, lamented the lack of communication between the two entities and said that the Dayton model must be replaced with new democratic processes. As for this week's elections, he sees a "psychological and political wall" in the country and is sceptical about the next government being able to surmount it.
"I don't expect any significant changes in BiH. I expect that there will only be minor changes, given the current governing parties," he said for TASR.
He also called on the US and EU to play a more active role in the country's current democratic development, rather than just sitting back and expecting progress from within.
-HCHR's summary report on pre-election campaigns
In its summary report on the progress of the political pre-election campaigns, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in BiH warned that some political parties blamed members of certain ethnic groups or one of the two entities for the difficult situation in the country, and that they were giving unrealistic promises, such as opening several thousands work places and providing higher social benefits in BiH.
It is also stressed in the report that some participants in the election campaign tried to disqualify their rivals using insinuations and untruths, while such phenomena was particularly apparent in politicians who are the owners of media houses, or have a direct impact on their editorial policies.
Noting that the election campaign in BiH this year involved politicians from neighboring countries, the Helsinki Committee, not mentioning specific names, said that it did not contribute to democratic elections and freedom of choice of voters.
The Helsinki Committee has also concluded that the Central Election Commission (CEC) had to carefully examine the reasons of appearance of disturbingly large number of invalid ballots.