Politics report - July 2000


ALL DIFFERENT - ALL CONSTITUTIVE

Behind this ironic paraphrase is a Bosnian version of a message "All different - all equal". The Constitutional Court has made a decision on constitution of peoples in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The essence of the decisionis directed to match the entity constitutions with the constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And the matching has to do with expanding the constitution of the three majority peoples - Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats (from the entity in which they are majority) to the entire Bosnian territory. According to Kasim Begic, president of the Constitutional Court, both entity constitutions have been in oppositin to BH constitution until now. The constitution of Republic of Srpska defined the smaller Bosnian entity as a "state of the Serb people", while Bosniaks and Croats have been named in the Federal constitution as constitutive peoples. To repeat once more, this makes all three nations constitutive in entire Bosnian territory. And that is an important decision. The most important, some say, since the Dayton Agreement. The state constitution defines BiH as a country with two entities which do not have sovereignty or the right to self-organize, but they have clearly stated authority. And the entities used to take much more authority. It is interesting that it took almost five years to make these constitutional changes. After the finalization of the Dayton negotiations, it was ordered to BH power at the time to make a coordination of the entities and the state constitition within the next three months (which expired in February 1996.) Of course, the Bosnian version of friends of slow progress took much longer than that. The changes of the constitution were being considered during the previous two years and have finally been adopted during July 2000. Almost 4,5 years after the deadline. Regardless of the fact that Serb and Croat judges refused to support this decision. Although, Begic's statement that was given after the change of the constitution, is somewhat symptomatic. He claims that the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina still has no means for conducting its decisions. But still, he stressed that respecting the Court's decisions as well as conducting them, is legally important as a foundation for the functioning of the legal state. It will be interesting to observe if the "legal representatives" of Serbs and Croats in BiH will be prepared to conduct the thing they would not even vote for. In the worst case scenario, another five years of waiting. Still, the fact that the "trend" of seeing the society as civil instead national, is encouraging. This is how the decision can be important, that entities and the state belong to the citizens instead of the Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats specificly. This is only a beginning, of course. And like any other beginning (c) it is hard. And it gives hope, even though it has been initiated by the foreigners in BiH (OHR, OSCE,...).
6TH HDZBiH PARLIAMENT IN SARAJEVO
The sixth HDZ parliament took place in Sarajevo, on Saturday, July 15. Announced with great expectations from different sides. Understandable. A short resume: rightwing prevailed, with Sopta, Ljubic and Jelavic at the head of it. Ante Jelavic was re-elected for the party president. Although he was the only candidate, he was very emotional and excited. Jadranko Prlic, more liberal HDZ left-wing, did not make into the five member party vice-presidency. Two votes were enough for putting Marko Tokic, HDZ secretary, in the place that was first planned for Prlic. Tokic was nominated later and his political prophile brings him closely to the rightwing. And that seems to be the side in which HDZBiH has decided to approach more. And to approach Herzegovina also. This is exactly why Prlic was proclaimed unwanted (general Slobodan Praljak said at this occasion: "What is Europe? 800 years of hard history, Tito, Bleiburg, Vukovar, Vitez...and now they are wondering why we are nationalists?"). Prlic will, according to his own words, make a final decision on his further political engagement by the end of this month. Basicly, another breaking of the left wing (plus a turn to the right), since the 5th parliament, 2 years ago, when Kresimir Zubak left the party.

The HDZBiH parliament has adopted a new party statute which defines the party as a peoples and social party, with an aim to preserve the status identity of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina. HDZBiH will act independently in the future in regard to HDZ Croatia. These two parties will have special relations that will be regulated later. Also, the party hymn will no longer be the same as the hymn of the Croatian HDZ. The Croat ship is sinking, Bosnian mice are running away.

Although the 6th parliament took place in Sarajevo instead of the historic Mostar, and although many people expected liberalization of HDZ, it did not happen. Hardcore to the end, is a new HDZBiH motto.

Some local media were making analysis by which the price that HDZ had to pay for survival was to get closer to the left wing with Jadranko Prlic. So, in this situation, many believe that this is the end. Is it? Elections in November.

STATE OF EMERGENCY IN MAGLAJ (CENTRAL BOSNIA)
Maglaj, a small town placed in Central Bosnia, became known during the war for a village called Bocinja. And Bocinja is very near Maglaj. And in Bocinja...There is a community created by warriors mujahedins who came to Bosnia during the war. The name Bocinja came up in the world every time some radical islam terrorist with BH passport was be arrested. Most of them had a shelter in Bocinja. The local government decided to put Bocinja under control and enable pre-war residents to return. With the help from the Federal power. But, according to the Federal Prime-minister Edhem Bicakcic:"while there is no selam, there will be no money for Maglaj" (an allusion to the recent decision of Maglaj authorities to replace national greetings in public services with "civil" greetings). Therefore, the return will be very slow, unlike the return of barricades. Several days back, when the Maglaj authorities made an attempt to enter Bocinja, that part of BiH was under barricades. In return, the state of emergency was proclaimed.

According to a few local political analysts, the situation in Maglaj is an introduction to one of the biggest post(c)war crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The only question is who will deal with this problem, local or international forces and whether or not it will be possible to solve it in a peaceful manner. Looks like that the theses on the war, that it is still going on in people's minds has it's confirmation once again.