Amna Popovac: The People of BiH deserve a chance for a normal life


The international community has played an important role in the region since the 1990s and has many times failed to fulfil its role. Now they have the opportunity for a make-up exam and they should not miss this opportunity.

One could say that the international community, instead of progressing and building a functioning state, has been focused on stabilization. We now see that the concept of ‘stability before democracy’ has completely failed.

The lack of full implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement has brought us to where we are today, a divided instead of an integrated society. In addition, the concept, still present in the Serbian and Croatian political establishments that creating a single state was unacceptable, something that would lead to the dominance of only one people – Bosniaks (Muslims), made it difficult to implement Dayton and probably completely blocked progress.

Current trends and public statements by some political leaders in BiH, with the support of the Serb and Croat political establishments, point toward efforts to pull back reforms implemented over the past 25 years.

Self-proclaimed Leaders Without Legality and Legitimacy

Today, Bosnia and Herzegovina has serious problems related to its functionality, rule of law and the fight against corruption, as well as the general lack of focus of political elites (the ruling mafia) on issues of real importance to the people.

At the same time, the international community, instead of negotiating with representatives of BiH’s official institutions, is negotiating with self-proclaimed national leaders who have neither the legality nor the legitimacy to decide on behalf of the citizens. This gives them legitimacy and creates the impression that they are really representatives of the people, and when you look at the number of votes won by these and such leaders, it becomes clear that their voters are in the minority. Our problem is the silent majority, who think that their vote cannot bring about the desired change.

Instead of focusing on the work and motivating the silent majority to be actively involved in decision-making, participation in public life and shaping their future, the international community often, by its inaction but also by acting at the wrong time, helps the ruling mafia stay in power.

The international community should finally understand that the kind of reform needed in BiH is not resolving a frozen conflict, but a frozen state. international community have taken an inadequate approach to obstruction and crime in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We are not ruled by politicians who truly want the progress of their society, but we have a mafia in power, which does not like the rule of law.

Restoring the independence of the judiciary system and strengthening the rule of law are key to BiH’s future stability and success. Greater support for the High Representative in BiH is important not only for strategic political issues, but also for economic ones.

We need to adopt socio-economic policies in our parliaments. If not, we need the full support of the High Representative to enforce the law, which will help our business community. Our companies are stifled by taxes that are spent on high salaries of politicians instead of being given as an incentive for development and employment to small and medium-sized companies.

At a time when 16-year-old teenagers, of all nationalities, are talking about whether or not we will have another war in BiH, there are no preconditions to talk about constitutional and electoral reforms that would lead to a functioning state.

Let me be clear, there are no preconditions for the conflict in B&H now. Regardless of the prevailing psychosis, this is not the 1990s. Namely, people have not joined the army in BiH for a long time. I mean, the younger generations of men don’t know how to handle weapons, or dig a trench. If and by any chance they ended up in a trench, I believe their first question would be ’What is the wifi password?’

I hope it is already clear to most that the ruling mafia is threatening secession and war solely to hide its multiple corrupt practices and rigged tenders, such as importing respirators that kill people instead of saving lives or using technical oxygen to treat patients. There are also struggles to maintain the status quo as much as possible, so that the law on the origin of property does not really come to life. So the question arose as to where they got the money for so much real estate and how they purchased which company.

In the background is the struggle for power and the best possible starting position for the next elections in October 2022. If the verbal contests of self-proclaimed protectors of the people continue in this tone, the dirtiest election campaign in the last 25 years awaits us. And it’s still a year until the election.

In such an artificially created crisis, nothing can or should be fundamentally changed in the Election Law or the FBiH Constitution.

Escobar and Excalibur

Instead of adjusting to nationalist interests that would lead to further division of the state and prevent the normal functioning of state institutions, we should keep the Election Law as it is and focus only on limited/technical changes in it. This would lead to correctly counted votes and reduce electoral fraud in the next elections in October 2022.

Only after that could we, without pressure and war trumpets, focus on appropriate constitutional changes and electoral law reform. This, together with strengthening the rule of law, could bring lasting peace to BiH and the region.

A glimmer of hope for the people these days is the arrival of US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and US President’s Special Envoy for the Western Balkans Gabriel Escobar in BiH, whom they secretly hope will draw Excalibur (magic sword) and miraculously solve accumulated problems. That, of course, will not happen.

What is encouraging is that already during his first visit, he returned the talks to the BiH institutions, where he talked with elected representatives of various levels of government. That is a good signal and I hope it will continue to be so. This is the only way to really work on strengthening state institutions and returning the process to the space to which they belong, and with people who have electoral legitimacy. Everything else is buying time and waiting for the people to get tired and die or move away from here.

Idi naVrh

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