IT IS MILORAD DODIK'S MOVE!

The pre-election campaign of political parties is reaching its final phase.

The International Institute for Middle-East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) in Ljubljana, Slovenia, constantly analyses events in the Middle East and the Balkans. Recently IFIMES has prepared an analysis of the current political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina in view of the forthcoming local elections (Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Srpska and the Brcko District of Bosnia and Herzegovina) to be held on Saturday, 2 October 2004. The most important and interesting sections of the comprehensive analysis are given below:

The pre-election campaign of political parties is reaching its final phase. The IFIMES International Institute analysts have noted that the campaign was of very specific nature marked by a fierce conflict between the current leading national structures: SDS (Serbian Democratic Party), SDA (Party of Democratic Action), HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) and their satellite parties PDP (Party of Democratic Progress) and SzBiH (Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina) as well as by the secession of SRS (Serbian Radical Party) and of the opposition parties SNSD (Union of Independent Social Democrats), SP (Socialist Party), DNS (Democratic National Union), SDP (Social Democratic Party), NHI (New Croatian Initiative), characterised by a very sharp rhetoric aimed at complete disqualification of its opponents not sparing any words or means in order to show their differences. Though these features resemble rather a campaign for general elections, these are still only local elections. During this campaign the majority of political parties and especially the leading national parties have once again failed to offer solutions for the promotion of labour and the development of local communities. Thus, they can be merely described as the political groupation which uses the rhetoric of the nationalistic emotional statements to point to the alleged dangers threatening each of the nations. This kind of approach has characterised the period since 1990 till now and has led Bosnia and Herzegovina to retardation and isolation from the developed neighbouring European regions and states. However, it can be noticed that the citizens are sated with this political approach and for the first time after all the previous elections the national parties have been faced with a very small interest on the part of the citizens who participated at their pre-election meetings. On the contrary, the citizens have shown much more interest in the meetings of democratic and progressive opposition parties which offer solutions to the local problems of people throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The IFIMES International Institute believes that the era of national politics in Bosnia and Herzegovina led by the nationalistic parties SDS, SDA and HDZ is on the wane and that the national parties will win much less votes in comparison with the last local elections held in April 2000, mostly due to the constant aggravation of the situation in the municipalities where they reigned, especially in the eastern towns of the Republic of Srpska, in the Bosnia-Podrinje Canton and in the Cantons of West Bosnia (Unsko Sanski and Livanjski Cantons). The 2000 local elections were marked by the euphoria of the national parties who won the majority of votes. On the other hand, the present elections are, especially in the Republic of Srpska, marked with the increased support for the opposition parties SNSD and SP and in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina for SDP. A vast number of voters who have been disappointed since the last elections will show their disappointment over the national parties and over the politics conducted by the national parties and their satellites through increased abstention and disinterest exceeding 50% of total appearance at the elections. At the last local elections, the reaffirmation of national parties took place, especially of SDS in the Republic of Srpska due to the undermining of the »Sloga« coalition then led by Milorad Dodik.
At the present elections the opposition parties have appeared jointly in some municipalities of the Republic of Srpska. This act was welcomed by the citizens and will most probably bring good results for the future in those municipalities. The Socialist Party with its realistic and moderate politics guided by the refined feeling for the needs of the citizens contributed to the formation and strengthening of the opposition block. Unfortunately, the Union of Independent Social Democrats leaders were encouraged by large support they received at the last general elections and failed to estimate correctly the importance of a homogenous approach of the opposition at the present elections.
Since there are a few more days before the elections, the IFIMES International Institute is of the opinion that certain possibility still exists that in some municipalities of the Republic of Srpska the opposition forces unite with the candidates for heads of the following municipalities: Mrkonjic Grad, Prijedor, Bijeljina, Lopare, Foca/Srbinje, Nevesinje, Doboj, Bosanski/Srpski Brod, etc. The historical responsibility for this is borne by SNSD leader Milorad Dodik who can make this move in agreement with the other opposition leaders.
The IFIMES International Institute believes that SNSD leader Milorad Dodik is ready to make a more decisive move in view of the local elections and enter into closer co-operation with the »Charter on the Future« parties, especially the Socialist Party whose popularity has recently been constantly increasing. By making this move Milorad Dodik would become an important historical personality who pays attention to the political reality which is necessary for closer co-operation of the progressive democratic political forces in the »Charter on the Future« partnership (SNSD, SP, DNS). However, failure to make this move would mean that he will definitely and permanently destroy the democratic block and start to serve the policy of SDS and other national parties. There is, of course, no political future awaiting the national parties nor those who co-operate with them in any way. Co-operation with SDS, which has lost the most important political battle with the recent changing of the names of towns with the prefix »Serbian«, represents the beginning of complete abolition of the Republic of Srpska, and Milorad Dodik's collaboration would even speed up such abolition. Co-operation with SDS would lead Milorad Dodik and SNSD to a fiasco at the next parliamentary elections in the Republic of Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The IFIMES International Institute has noted that the religious communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina have again entered into active contact with their believers in order to recommend them to support the national parties. This raises contempt among the citizens who have been moving towards the opposition parties for some time and undermines the credibility of religious communities which could contribute significantly to the general normalisation of life in this region. It is paradoxical that religious communities offered almost unreserved support to the national parties which neither returned it nor resolved any questions important for them, such as the return of property to religious communities. The only exception is the Brcko District of BiH where most of the property has been returned to the religious communities. However, for the past four years the Brcko District has been led by SP and SDP.
The speech delivered by the BiH Presidency member Sulejman Tihic at the 59th regular meeting of UN General Assembly in New York, in which he appealed to the international (world) community to apply (enforce) administrative means in order to change the constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was obviously not left unsupported by the other two members of the BiH Presidency. This kind of appearance in public and in the UN shows that no action can be taken without the consent of the BiH Presidency. This leads to the possibility that Borislav Paravac as the SDS representative in the BiH Presidency gave his consent to Tihic which confirms the SDS - SDA coalition to the detriment of the citizens of the Republic of Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina. SDS and SDA have established coalition for the election of heads of municipalities at the coming local elections at many local levels such as in Bosanska/Kozarska Dubica, Teslic, Doboj, Lopare.
In the framework of the Croatian block of parties, HDZBiH is aiming at completely separating the political influence of Sarajevo from Herzegovina and thus achieving Croatian selfgovernance in Bosnia and Herzegovina in a concealed way. In this project HDZBiH enjoys perfidious support and patronage of the Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader. Dr Sanader would like to carry out this project in a sophisticated way benefiting from the more and more frequent incidents in the sea border with Slovenia. The Croatian fishing-boats have obviously been sent on the basis of a secret agreement between the Croatian Prime Minister Dr Sanader and the leader of the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) Janez Jansa. In accordance with this agreement, Croatian fishing-boats are sent to Piran Bay on regular basis in order to provoke incidents in the sea border area in an attempt to discredit the present Slovenian leading coalition (led by LDS - Liberal Democrats of Slovenia) in view of the forthcoming elections in Slovenia. Dr Sanader would thus achieve two goals: diverting attention from what is happening in Herzegovina (gradual realisation of Croatian selfgovernance) and facilitating eventual empowerment of Janez Jansa in Slovenia which would open the possibility for Croatia to get to certain parts of the Slovenian territory.


PUBLIC OPINION POLL

Data on the sample:
• The sample: random, three-stage
• Size of the sample: 888 respondents (male and female citizens of lawful age)
• Methodology: telephone survey
• Period: 27 September 2004
• Degree of reliability: 95%
• Control: per 10% specimens
• Standard deviation: +/-3
• Territory: the Republic of Srpska

Who will you vote for at the forthcoming local elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 2 Oct. 2004?

SNSD ~ 17,10%
SDS ~ 14,30%
SP ~ 11,30%
PDP ~ 2,40%
OTHER PARTIES ~ 7,60%
I WILL NOT VOTE ~ 47,30%

Data on the sample:
• The sample: random, three-stage
• Size of the sample: 911 respondents (male and female citizens of lawful age)
• Methodology: telephone survey
• Period: 27 September 2004
• Degree of reliability: 95%
• Control: per 10% specimens
• Standard deviation: +/- 3
• Territory: the Federation of BiH

Who will you vote for at the forthcoming local elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 2 Oct. 2004?

SDA ~ 18,30%
SDP ~ 11,60%
SzBiH ~ 4,30%
HDZ ~ 8,20%
OTHER PARTIES ~ 11,40%
I WILL NOT VOTE ~ 46,20%

Data on the sample:
• The sample: random, three-stage
• Size of the sample: 242 respondents (male and female citizens of lawful age)
• Methodology: telephone survey
• Period: 27 September 2004
• Degree of reliability: 95%
• Control: per 10% specimens
• Standard deviation: +/-3
• Territory: the Brcko District of BiH

Who will you vote for at the forthcoming local elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 2 Oct. 2004?

SDP ~ 16,20%
SP ~ 13,80%
SDS ~ 11,40%
SDA ~ 9,80%
HDZ ~ 5,50%
OTHER PARTIES ~ 6,20%
I WILL NOT VOTE ~ 37,10%



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