Bosnia and Herzegovina: The choice is theirs

There are to be municipal elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 8 April. They are, in theory, the last under provisional rules drawn up by the international community after the 1992-1995 war. A general election, scheduled for the autumn, is supposed to be regulated by a new, locally agreed election law – although, intriguingly enough, the fact that the state parliament has so far failed to adopt this law has thrown the autumn election into doubt.

The World Today Published 1 April 2000 Updated 27 October 2020 4 minute READ

Wolfgang Petritsch

High Representative for Civilian Implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords

We have come a long way since the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords in 1995. There are signs that the popularity of the old nationalist parties, still largely led by the country’s wartime leaders, could be on the wane. The elections in Croatia at the beginning of the year, at which the late President Franjo Tudjman’s nationalist Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party was roundly defeated, have sent a message to their southern neighbours that can hardly be ignored.

That message is simple: if enough people want change, then change cannot be resisted. In other words, democracy does work – even in the Balkans. Many of us peace implementors are hoping that on 8 April, the public will take advantage of this chance for change, and follow the example of Croatia.

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