Sunday, September 24, 2006

And Bosnia As Well

Well, then there is of course the elections in Bosnia next weekend as well.

I must confess to having been somewhat out of touch with the debate there during the past few weeks.

But prior to that it wasn't too stimulating.

It seemed to me then - it might have changed since - that the trend was that the two old and big nationalist parties - SDA on the Muslim and SDS on the Serb side - was in danger of being outflanked by the more nationalist rhetoric of their main rivals. On the Croat side it's a more confused picture after the splits in the local HDZ party.

SDA is challenged by long-standing challenger Haris Silajdzic. He's been around for ever, and remains as ambitious as ever. But instead of being a man that could help in bridging the divides of Bosnia, I think there is now a risk of him making them worse.

He was one of those instrumental in blocking the attempt earlier this year to modify the Bosnian constitution - advocating an all-or-nothing approach that fits very badly with the realities of Bosnia.

And on the Serb side the story seems to be similar with RS Prime Minister Milorad Dodik talking about an independence referendum for Republika Srpska in order to outflank the classical nationalists in SDS. But these have, under a new leadership, started to sound more responsible than in the past, also on the controversial constitutional issues.

I'm not unduly alarmed, although the build-up of nationalist rhetoric throughout the region at the moment is worth taking note of.

And all my younger friends in Bosnia are saying that they are throughly fed up with a rhetoric that seems to be more looking back to the wat years than forward to the common European future they want.