Bosnia: losses for nationalists

After general elections for the three-member presidency in crisis-ridden Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Muslim nationalist Party of Democratic Action has failed to secure the Bosniak seat for the first time since 2010, which instead goes to Social Democrat Denis Bećirović. Reformer Željko Komšić of the Democratic Front has retained the Croatian seat, while ethnic Serbs are represented by Željka Cvijanović - and thus as before the election by the nationalist Alliance of Independent Social Democrats. What does this shift mean?

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Dnevnik (SI) /

Not much is new

Elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina invariably raise the same old question, says Dnevnik, namely:

“Whether the forces have been strengthened which really have the potential to bring about change, or in other words move the country in the direction of a civil state and solve the problems ranging from healthcare and the economy to the infrastructure and the emigration of the young, and steer it away from being seen as an amalgamation of three ethnic communities, where one community seeks advantage at the expense of the others and the political elites only look after themselves. ... As far as all that is concerned, no major changes can be expected this time either. ... Nevertheless, there are indications of a small shift, namely the loss of support for politicians embodying the national component.”

Kleine Zeitung (AT) /

True change will take time

Whether the election can heal the rifts in the country remains to be seen, the Kleine Zeitung writes:

“Civic-liberal forces nevertheless hope that the result will bring about a long overdue change in the status quo. Also because they want to break away from Russian and Chinese influences. Whether the long-awaited accession to the EU will ultimately work out as hoped remains to be seen. As long as the country is overshadowed by corruption and the constant overemphasis on ethnic origin there will be no change. What remains is division and the lack of a long overdue collective identity.”