July 25, 2021

The triumph of the nationalists threatens to increase the divisions in Bosnia

The triumph of the nationalists threatens to increase the divisions in Bosnia

The triumph, once again, of nationalist and ethnic parties in Sunday's elections in Bosnia can increase political and social instability in a country deeply divided between its three main nationalities: Croats, Serbs and Muslims.

According to official results, still preliminary, the ruling and nationalist Democratic Action Party (SDA) has been the most voted among Muslims.

The Union of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), the nationalist Milorad Dodik, and the conservative Croatian Democratic Union BiH (HDZ BiH) remain dominant among the Croatian Orthodox Serbs.

Those parties were the most voted both in the elections to the Bosnian central Parliament and in the Legislative of the two autonomous entities that make up the Bosnian State: the common Muslim and Croatian and the Serbian Republic.

In the central presidency, two nationalists will be seated, the Serbian Dodik and the Muslim Sefik Dzaferovic, along with the Croatian Zeljko Komsic, of the Democratic Front, a more moderate and center-left formation.

Komsic won thanks to the votes of the Muslims of the common body, which rejected another more nationalist candidate, a situation that can cause tensions in that entity and negatively affect the already fragile and inefficient central government.

The political analyst Srecko Latal told Efe that the results have shown "the continuity of the policies and the power of the governing parties," which have not brought any change to the general political course in the country.

"However, they have the potential to further destabilize Bosnia and Herzegovina," Latal said.

He referred mainly to the victory of Dodik, leader for a decade of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia, and who has come to threaten openly for the secession of the country.

Analysts expect a difficult process to be set up to constitute the Government and the Parliament in the entity that Muslims and Croats share.

"The already complicated processes of establishing new authorities that tend to be after all Bosnian elections, will now be much more difficult," said Latal.

This analyst warned that "there is a real possibility that the institutions of power are not formed" in the Muslim-Croat entity.

On the other hand, he warns that Dodik's entry into the Bosnian presidency "will further aggravate the already tense political situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina."

Dodik is presented as the great defender of the autonomy of the Bosnian Serb entity and opposes any centralization of Bosnia, which in many cases described as "failed" country.

The nationalist politician has very good relations with Russia and denounces that the policy of the West is "negative towards the Serbs".

In Bosnia-Herzegovina, 23 years after the civil war, internal disagreements are still constant and have slowed the reforms required for an eventual entry into the European Union (EU).

The differences between the leaders of the three peoples reach the same configuration of the State: while the main Muslim parties want more centralization, the Bosnian Serbs oppose any loss of autonomy and the Bosnian Croatians want more rights of their own.

That scenario of division was highlighted today by international observers who have followed the elections.

Cheryl Gillan, who headed the delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, lamented in a press conference that the campaign was marked by ethnic lines among the three main groups in the country.

In his presentation of a report on the elections, published by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Gillan criticized, for example, that the electoral law that discriminates against minorities has not been reformed yet, prohibiting them from aspiring to position of president who does not belong to one of the three nationalities.

However, the observers acknowledged that the elections were held calmly and with equal conditions.

By Snezana Stanojevic


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