Tag Archives: bosnia

Only liberals can stem the tide of ethnic nationalism in Bosnia

International Office_with textOn the surface of it, you couldn’t be blamed for feeling pretty grim about the results of the recent local elections which took place on 2 October in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In both semi-autonomous regions, the biggest winners were the large, ethno-nationalist parties who managed to maintain and entrench their positions as the major political force in their region. Perhaps most symbolically of all, the city of Srebrenica, where the infamous genocide of over 8,000 Muslim Bosniaks by the Bosnian Serb Army of Republika Srpska took place in 1995, has elected its first Serb mayor since the end of that conflict, triggering alarm amongst the Bosniak population and a resurgence in public expressions of Serbian nationalism.

Bosnians were voting for mayors and municipal councils in Bosnia’s two semi-autonomous regions – the Serb-dominated Republika Srpska and the Bosniak-Croat Federation. These regions have their own governments, presidents and parliaments, although they remained linked by shared federal institutions. The regions were empowered to largely run themselves after the end of the Bosnian War to maintain relative peace between the two largest ethnic groups in Bosnia.

In Republika Srpska, the Serbian nationalist party, the Independent Social Democrat’s Party (SNSD), successfully shored up their support through a nationalistic – and since declared illegal – referendum campaign for keeping the date of January 9th as the national day of the Republika, which took place just days before the election. The SNSD’s pro-Serb rhetoric has only strengthened, with incumbent President Milorad Dodik campaigning on a promise of Republika Srpska’s secession from Bosnia. The results show that such nationalistic rhetoric still holds a lot of power, with the SNSD winning 11 more mayoral posts and 30% more municipalities since the 2012 local elections.

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged | 6 Comments

Bosnia’s Nasa Stranka visits York

Nasa Stranka in YorkOne of the highlights of this year’s Spring Conference for us as a Local Party, led by our deputy group leader Cllr Ann Reid, was hosting some representatives of our Bosnian sister party, Nasa Stranka.

Nationally links between our two parties are already well-established, with joint working around campaigns, training and promoting women in politics. But for anyone who doesn’t follow Bosnian politics as closely as we do….

Nasa Stranka (‘Our Party’ in Bosnian) was founded in 2008 to offer an alternative to the dominant nationalist parties, and over the past six years has established itself as the leading socially liberal and progressive voice in Bosnian politics. Nasa Stranka is also a shining example of achieving gender equality, with 46% female representation at the local level.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

LibLink: Paddy Ashdown – It is time for Europe to back a no-fly zone in Libya

In the Financial Times, Paddy Ashdown (former High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina and former Leader of the Liberal Democrats) calls for a no-fly zone in Libya:

It is difficult not to feel a wearisome sense of déjà vu watching European leaders on Friday saying something needed to be done in Libya, but failing completely to say what.

Libya is not our backyard. But what happens there and in the other countries of the Maghreb matters to us Europeans very much. If those who have overturned dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt (and hopefully Libya) in this “Arab spring” can create effective,

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • James Fowler
    Good summary from William Francis. Have you read Keith Middlemass's series? They're a bit dated, but very interesting....
  • John Grout
    We should not be surprised that people who are the subjects of a debate want to be part of it - it’s also not unsurprising that they won’t want to debate, p...
  • Andrew Melmoth
    @Simon McGrath But that's not the whole story. The government can set the redistribution rules in an effort to tilt the system in their favour. For instance ...
  • Matt McLaren
    Thanks for your thoughts Richard. As you say, others will make their own judgements about what is said above. I'm very keen to work with others to improve th...
  • Simon McGrath
    Some interesting points here but redrawing constituency boundary are done by an independent body - nothing to do with the Govt...