Bosnians are preparing to vote in the seventh general elections on October 12, but in a country plagued by corruption and ethnic divisions observers say there is little hope for change at the top.
Serb nationalists like Milorad Dodik are running on a platform to make Bosnia’s Serb Republic into an independent state, a promise that chimes with these electors in the largely Serb city of Banja Luka.
“If Kosovo could get independence why can’t we?” asked one woman. “Things would be much better if we became independent.”
“I would like to see the independence of the Serb Republic one day, but I don’t think it is possible because of the current political system and other issues,” said another resident.
The 1995 peace agreement, which created a complicated system of government, has left the country ruled by parties with irreconcilable visions of the future.
“The problem is that we are always fighting,” explained one man from Sarajevo. “The Bosniaks, the Serbs and the Croats. All of us want to be as dominant as possible.”
“This country would work better without the entities and even without the cantons,” added another resident of Sarajevo.
The 3.3 million voters will have to elect officials to 581 posts, including the three-person rotating presidency.
Civil unrest in February had led some to believe that change was on its way, but the devastating floods in May put paid to that hope.
Much of the 800 million euros in aid pledged by foreign donors did not find its way to those whose houses were damaged but allegedly to the pockets of the power-brokers. Transparency International has received numerous complaints of aid being given along party lines and family ties.
Euronews correspondent Andrea Hajagos reported: “The Serbs, the Croats and the Bosniaks think about the world in a very different way, but they seem to agree that Bosnia and Herzegovina didn’t develop in the last few years and many of them think this election will do little to change the situation.”