Sunday, October 03, 2004

Democracy Fatigue in Bosnia

Less than 50 % of all eligible voters participated in Saturday's local elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina. This is the lowest turnout since the war and shows that most of people there got politically apathetic, thus following the trends noticed in other countries of former Yugoslavia. Complicated elections rules and the tight grip of foreign diplomats over local, regional, "entity" and national governments have convinced many that their vote doesn't mean much.

Another factor is disappointment in "civic" parties, opposed to the nationalists that had brought war to Bosnia and favoured by foreign governments. Urban voters stayed at home, while rural voters, traditional supporters of nationalists, went to polls. In Federation – Bosniac(Muslim)/Croat "entity" of Bosnia – Bosniac SDA and Croat HDZ have regained the ground lost at previous elections. The only exception was Bihać (Bihac), stronghold of SDA, which was taken over by ex-Communist SDP.

In Republic of Srpska, Bosnian Serb "entity", moderate nationalists of SNSD have took a large chunk of votes from SDS, former party of chief war suspect Radovan Karadžić (Radovan Karadzic). SNSD managed to beat SDS even in Trebinje, area known as the hotbed of hardline Serb nationalism.


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