August 3, 2021

Elections in Bosnia increase uncertainty about their future

Elections in Bosnia increase uncertainty about their future

The victory in the Bosnian presidential triad of the Serbian nationalist Milorad Dodik, the Muslim nationalist Sefik Dzaferovic and the Croatian center-left politician Zeljko Komsic increases the uncertainty about the future of the Balkan country.

The Central Electoral Commission has published the first results after the count of 43.42 percent of the votes.

Dzaferovic gets 37.97 percent, Komsic 49.47 percent and Dodik 55.15 percent.

53.36 percent of the 3.4 million Bosnians with voting rights participated today in the general elections to choose the central institutions and those of their two entities with broad autonomy, the Muslim-Croat Federation and the Serbian Republic.

In these eight elections since the end of the war (1992-1995) the deputies of the central Parliament of this country, of complicated structure, were elected to the parliaments of the two autonomous entities, to the president of the Bosnian Serb entity and the Parliaments of the ten cantons that make up the Muslim-Croat entity.

The continuous internal discrepancies and the limited power of the central institutions have slowed the reforms of approach to the European Union (EU).

The differences between the leaders of the constituent peoples reach the very configuration of the state, and while the larger Muslim formations seek more centralization, the Serbs oppose any loss of autonomy and the Croats want more collective rights.

Dodik, leader of the Union of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), a politician of marked nationalist discourse and dominant among the Bosnian Serbs for more than a decade, declared tonight that his motto in his new post will be "the Serbian Republic first and foremost."

He indicated that he will reject any attempt to subordinate the Bosnian Serb entity to the aspirations of centralization to make the functioning of the State more effective.

"I think that in Bosnia-Herzegovina progress can be made if there is respect for everyone," said the politician, who on many occasions described this country as "unsuccessful".

Dodik, close to Russia, is a critic of the Western policy, which he describes as "of pressure and degradation of the Serbian people", and of favoring the attempts of the Muslims to centralize the country.

His critics fear that from the position in the collegial Presidency he will try to obstruct the work of that institution and make difficult the entry of Bosnia into the EU and NATO.

Their choice adds uncertainty and could mean a constant crisis in a country that is already deeply divided and ineffective at the central level.

Analysts see these elections as decisive for Bosnia, since either they will allow it to move towards the EU and NATO, or it will stop those ambitions for their ethnic rivalries.

A surprise in these elections has been the election of Komsic as a Croatian member of the collegial leadership of the country, since the nationalist Dragan Covic, current Bosnian co-president, was the favorite.

Komsic, leader of the Democratic Front (DF), which was a member of the Bosnian Presidency from 2006 to 2014, has attracted votes from the Muslims, more numerous of the Federation than they share with the Croats.

This politician, who advocates a concept of a country of citizens and not of ethnic groups, declared tonight that "it will serve all the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina," and his message to the Croatian people was that they have no reason for "fear nor the worry. "

Covic, who unsuccessfully demanded the right of the Croats to elect their leaders alone without the vote of Muslims, said today that the election results "can cause a great crisis."

A difficult formation of the institutions in the Muslim-Croatian entity and at the central level is foreseen given that it is considered that the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) conspirator, of Covic, will be the most voted party among the Croats.

The new Muslim member of the Bosnian Presidency, Dzaferovic, is the vice president of the nationalist and ruling Democratic Action Party (SDA), the largest Muslim bosnian formation close to Turkey.

He is considered a pragmatic politician and without charisma, but he has the support of the leader of the SDA and the main figure among Muslim politicians, Bakir Izetbegovic, who has served two consecutive terms in the Bosnian Presidency.

"Bosnia-Herzegovina needs stability, economic reforms and development and internal integration," Dzaferovic declared after proclaiming his victory.

"We must establish a stable environment, we want to go towards the EU and NATO," he said, noting that the SDA achieved a great victory today and "will be the pillar around which power will be formed" in the country.


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