Politics in May 2000

Probably the most important political news of the month is the decision on Parliament elections that are to take place on November 11 of this year.

This is just a short resume of a news that was first announced by the local office of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe - OSCE. The elections were planned for September 2000, but in the end it was not even certain if that was going to happen in this year at all. According to OSCE and OHR, one of the main reasons for the possibility of such a decision was the fact that the Bosnian parliament has not adopted the Election Law because of the constant obstructions from radical political fractions (SDA, HDZ and others similar to them). The previous, April elections took place without that law as well.

There is a simple reason for not adopting the Election Law. The first party among the Bosniaks (SDA) would gain time by prolonging the day of the elections and it would use that time to try to get back their voters' trust. And this is something that voters no longer have, or at least, not as much as they used to. It appears that the party itself was stunned by the mistrust of the Bosniak voters. Official SDA explanation is based on a fact that the current situation cannot guarantee successful parliament elections. But, as a columnist in Sarajevo journal OSLOBODJENJE asked - why didn't SDA oppose the 19996., 1997. or 1998. elections when the political (and general) conditions were far worse than they are today.

A chief of the Bosnian mission to OSCE, Robert Barry, said that the decision on elections was based on the recommendation by the OSCE. It is clear that the international community institutions take the present political moment in Bosnia seriously and understand that it is crucial. If they allow radical nationalists to win the elections once again, all the effort made in previous years in order to establish civil society (instead of the current national) would prove that the years that the International Community spent in BiH were a total failure. I doubt they would care about the nationalism as much as about the fact that they could not justify such a radical move to voters in their own countries, but well...let's leave that for some other time. The peacemakers have decided - on November 11 the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina will show their decision (there is about five months left till November).

According to information from the OSCE HQ, the elections wil cost between 7 and 7,5 million euros. OSCE will ensure the financies, despite the recent statements that questioned any further financing of Bosnian election adventures.

It is still early to speak of the candidates (parties, movements, individuals...). 5 July is the final deadline for party registration at the OSCE, and that is when the final list of the election participants will be available. With no intention of putting down the rest of the participants, it is evident that the main struggle will be between SDA and the Socialdemocrats (SDP). In Federal part of BiH as well as in Republic of Srpska. Until the final victory or the final defeat.

And Republic of Srpska? Is it possible to predict possible election results in the smaller Bosnian entity? The local elections have shown that the Serb Democratic Party (SDS) after its ten-year-long existance and a terrible politics (hand to hand with SDA and HDZ) is still able to get votes that could jeopardize political existence of the self-proclaimed president of the RS Government - Milorad Dodik. And Dodik is aware of that. Certainly, the pre-election summer in Republic of Srpska will be more than dynamic..

SDA in the post-election period is going through the same thing as HDZ after its crash in Croat elections. Conflicts growing inside the party with a large media coverage of the situation. Also resignations and talks of responsibilities. Just a few days ago, SDA released Ejup Ganic, the president of the Federation and one of the most exposed members of the party, of his membership. If we were to believe the news, the radical religious fraction in the party decided to change things in their benefit. At the same time, the results of the horrible ten year long SDA politics are surficing. This is not so strange since crime, which was a part of the SDA politics, is at its peak. Of course, I speak of the process of privatization that is coming close to the grand finish in which information about dirty business find their way to the media.

SDA is obviously loosing popularity. Even the authorities are not as strong as they used to be. There are some rumours about possible coalition between SDA and HDZ in Central Bosnia canton with an aim to get the majority over SDP which is currently nr.1. Just to remind you, the politics and conflicts (during the war I mean) of the two parties caused the death and torture of thousands of people. However, the past is being forgotten in this fight for power. They might as well start to persuade us that it is necessary to have joint future and cooperation and that we should follow their example... Try to imagine the dose of hypocricy that is needed for something like that.

In the meantime, SDP is very satisfied with the results of the local elections that were held at the beginning of April. This party has been building a political orientation based on the civil society and this is bringing more and more sympathy among the Bosnians. November, as the election month, is very suitable for SDP. Because until then the voters will not have a chance to see if their power is as bad as the previous one. And there will be more than enough of SDA affairs.

Judging from the meeting that took place at the State Department (Washington, USA) at the end of May, it is evident that the USA would like to see the leader of SDP as the future president of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Zlatko Lagumdzija, president of SDP and three leading representatives of local journalism took part in this meeting. How good is that? And how bad? Journalist of the independent magazine BH DANI appeals for the protection of BH industry from multinational companies that are getting ready to rob BiH. In the same issue of the magazine, the Washington meeting is highly appreciated. Shortsightness or? It is perfectly clear that the American leaders invited the Bosnian foursome to explain them "how things are" and how things will be. According to the principle - we give you the power - you give us the state. Bosnia and Herzegovina will become another American colony. But is it possible to refuse one ideological radicalism (eastern-religious-fanatic) without getting the other one (western-capitalistic-colonial)? I guess that's the test that SDP will not be able to pass. Or is it an Amrican challenge it will not even resist? Judging from "the way things are"....

OSCE news from the beginning of the report starts another story. The result will be known after the election results and so will the choice of the voters. Whether or not they want Bosnia and Herzegovina in a new millenium or they prefer the semi-progressive stone age. If anyone is really in a position to offer that first thing.



If the setting of the election date was the most important news from the political scene in May, then the most important news from the civil scene is a tragic one. On May 13, in a place called Zli brijeg (translated it is called Evil hill and it is on the road Zenica - Kakanj - Central Bosnia) 44 passengers lost their lives in a traffic accident. The accident happened when the bus which was driving a group of Zenica believers to the religious service in Buna near Mostar tumbled down from the bridge into the river Bosna. Already said, 44 dead and 11 hurt. The accident in Zli brijeg is the biggest post-war tragedy that happened to this country. The time of mourning has passed and the local media began to deal with the cause for it - and the culprit. The driver (one of the 11 survivers), bad road, broken bus, all of the above...if it matters now.44 lives will never come back but in any case, it is possible to sell more newspaper even in that way. A statement given by Besim Mehmedic, the Federal Traffic Minister, at the place of the accident, deserves special attention because of its nonsense, stupidity and morbid shockingness. According to his words, the International Community is to blame for this tragic accident. Why them? It is simple. The international community is to blame because they did not give the money for construction of the Sarajevo - Zenica highway. No comment. Or if one is needed - why wasn't Mehmedic's ministry a little bit more eager to do what had to be done, since it continues to take money from Bosnian drivers. The money is something the ministry has for sure. Luckily, the international community is still here - the scape goat is hard to find, especially when not so many people believe that chetnicks, ustasches, foreign and domestic enemies are to blame because children here have nothing to eat, the education system is a catastrophy, the adults cannot find work, economy and industry are collapsing, crime and corruption leaking everywhere ... Fortunately, Mehmedic and those who gave him power are becoming a part of the political past of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I sincerely hope it will stay that way. Both them and everything they should be given "credit" for.