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March 07, 2021, 07:55:17 PM

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  International Elections (Moderators: Gustaf, afleitch, Hash)
  Bosnian local elections (15 November 2020 + 20 December 2020)
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Author Topic: Bosnian local elections (15 November 2020 + 20 December 2020)  (Read 680 times)
Astatine ☢️
Astatine
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« on: November 18, 2020, 01:05:38 PM »
« edited: November 18, 2020, 01:17:48 PM by Astatine »

Quite unnoticed, but Bosnia and Hercegovina had municipal elections on 15 November. And they might give hope to an unstable country that is deeply divided due to ethnic nationalism.

The three most important parties are generally considered nationalist: SDA (Bosniaks), SNSD (Serbs) and HDZ (Croats). Both SDA and SNSD are represented in Bosnia's national government (three Presidents, each representing one ethnic group), while HDZ is basically in opposition as their candidate in FBiH (the entity representing Croats and Bosniaks) was outvoted by DF, a center-left party that is nominally multi-ethnic, but is mostly supported by Bosniaks (many Bosnian Croats think that the Croat member of the presidium was stolen). It split from SDP, which is the major opposition party to SDA, and slightly more to the left of DF.

The election was a debacle for SDA. The mayoral candidate of the liberal, post-nationalist Party NS had a good performance in the center district of Sarajevo (Novo Sarajevo) and beat a former Bosniak general nominated by SDA. He is a Bosnian Serb and ran in a district mostly populated by Bosniaks, advocating for a united Bosnia.
In another part of Sarajevo, Ilidza, a coalition named Četvorka gained the mayor position from SDA. Četvorka is a coalition of four parties opposing nationalism, including SDP and NS. SDP retained the mayor position in Tuzla

In the capital of Republika Srpska, Banja Luka, SNSD lost the mayor position against the center-right party PDP. The two most important cities in Bosnia will now be controlled by mayors that are openly anti-nationalist (technically, Sarajevo is divided in several own districts).
SNSD lost many towns to SDS, which once was more nationalist than SNSD, but has moderated its stance in recent years.

In most Croatians towns, HDZ won by landslides. Could be explained by many Bosnian Croats still having distrust as their member of the presidium was "stolen".

Additionally, the city of Mostar (the one with the unique bridge that was destroyed during wartime) will hold elections on 20 December. Mostar hasn't had a local election for 12 (!!) years as the city is deeply divided between the Croatian part in the West and the Bosniak part in the East. Might get interesting as well as Četvorka could win in Eastern Mostar.

This could be an early indication for the 2022 general elections and it seems like many Bosnians are tired of the constant division in their country.
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Astatine ☢️
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« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2020, 09:34:13 AM »



I made 2 maps (winning party in each municipality, ethnic composition according to the 2013 Census) where you can see some patterns:

- Towns with a clear Croat majority vote HDZ, no matter what.
- Towns in which either Croats or Bosniaks have a narrow majority over each other tend to vote for a nationalist party (either HDZ or SDA).
- Towns with a clear Serb majority bordering majorly Bosniak towns tend to vote for less radical parties (SDS, PDP, SP, NDP), while towns with a narrow Serb majority tend to vote for the nationalist SNSD.
- Bosniaks are overall more moderate than both Croats and Serbs, several towns with Bosniak majority went to the non-nationalist parties.
- Majority-Bosniak towns bordering majority-Croat towns that have HDZ mayors were gains for Bosniaks nationalists.
- Sarajevo is politically least, but ethnically most divided (-> Sarajevo is divided into several municipalities/districts).

From those trends two ratings for the outstanding elections in Travnik (where the incumbent mayor died) and Mostar (first elections in 12 years).

- Travnik: Bosniaks make up 67 % of the population (the Census might be outdated tho), and Croats are 2nd largest group. Such towns tend to vote for the nationalist party of the largest ethnic group. Likely SDA
- Mostar: Mostar is almost 50/50 split between Croats and Bosniaks. While the Croats will overwhelmingly vote for HDZ, some more Bosniaks might vote for the non-nationalist Coalition, especially after their successful results in the local elections. That would weaken SDA, but it is not clear by how much. Lean HDZ
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bigic
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« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2020, 03:47:57 PM »

I think the better divide among the Serb parties would be Serb pro-Dodik vs. Serb anti-Dodik. And PDP is maybe less nationalist than SNSD, but it's still moderately nationalist.
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Astatine ☢️
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« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2020, 04:16:15 PM »

I think the better divide among the Serb parties would be Serb pro-Dodik vs. Serb anti-Dodik. And PDP is maybe less nationalist than SNSD, but it's still moderately nationalist.
I put SDS and PDP both into the category "Serb moderate" in the map (they formed some electoral alliances from what I've seen) - Both parties still have nationalist views, but in comparison to SNSD they'd be considered moderate. From what I know, SDS used to be the more radical and nationalist party (...history agrees), but tended to deradicalize in recent years, fueling its decline and SNSD's growth. Would your agree with that description?

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pilskonzept
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« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2020, 05:55:57 PM »

First of all, thanks for the coverage, Astatine!

The postal and absentee votes have not been included yet. This won't matter as much as it used to - refugees have settled elsewhere, returned or died. Might still change some mayoral races, perhaps even the "headcount"-type race in Srebrenica, but it will mostly show up in terms of council seats.

Not sure how to read the results. Remember how everyone thought "SDA is out" after 2018?
I guess Bosniaks have started to dislike the one-family state, and Serbs have started to dislike the one-party state. Croats still lack decent options. In some ways, a return to the more pluralistic 2000s?

The relative success of the Bosniak left and center may lead to a real challenge to SDA for the Bosniak presidency seat in 2022, which would drive some Bosniak voters to vote for that candidate instead of Komsic. This in turn might open up the Croat race.

A lot of developments in Bosnia are decided by that other election anyway. The one St. Louis Bosniaks and Chicago Serbs voted in.
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Astatine ☢️
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« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2020, 07:10:54 PM »

First of all, thanks for the coverage, Astatine!

The postal and absentee votes have not been included yet. This won't matter as much as it used to - refugees have settled elsewhere, returned or died. Might still change some mayoral races, perhaps even the "headcount"-type race in Srebrenica, but it will mostly show up in terms of council seats.

Not sure how to read the results. Remember how everyone thought "SDA is out" after 2018?
I guess Bosniaks have started to dislike the one-family state, and Serbs have started to dislike the one-party state. Croats still lack decent options. In some ways, a return to the more pluralistic 2000s?

The relative success of the Bosniak left and center may lead to a real challenge to SDA for the Bosniak presidency seat in 2022, which would drive some Bosniak voters to vote for that candidate instead of Komsic. This in turn might open up the Croat race.

A lot of developments in Bosnia are decided by that other election anyway. The one St. Louis Bosniaks and Chicago Serbs voted in.

Just read your old posts about the 2018 Bosnian general elections - thanks for your contributions, you have very profound knowledge of politics in that area!

I agree that the election likely was not only decided by tiredness of nationalism, but rather by tiredness of endless corruption within the major parties. Probably contributed to SNSD's loss in Banja Luka.

From what I hear of some Bosnian friends, Covid also played a significant role. It showed the incompetence of the major parties (during the first lockdown the government bought ventilators that didn't work as far as I know, becoming a massive laughing stock) and generally, the problems with endless bureaucracy. 

I'm actually really excited about the Mostar election, it might be an important symbolic victory for the respective winner.
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CumbrianLeftie
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« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2020, 09:14:41 AM »

Is there a significant successor party to the former Communists anywhere?
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Astatine ☢️
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« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2020, 09:26:20 AM »

Is there a significant successor party to the former Communists anywhere?
SDP is the legal successor of the League of Communists and as most important (nominal) multi-ethnic party and second largest party among Bosniaks, they play a major role in Bosnia's complicated party system.
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Astatine ☢️
Astatine
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« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2020, 08:46:38 PM »

Mostar finally voted after 12 years and this is the official result for the city at large:

HDZ: 35.5 %
Coalition for Mostar (SDA, DF, minor Bosniak parties): 30.1 %
SDP-NS Coalition: 12.6 %
HRS (Croatian Republican Party): 7.4 %
List "Our Mostar": 4.8 %
Progressives: 2.8 %

No surprises, HDZ swept the Croat part of the town, the SDA coalition the Bosniak one. Both the Progressives and the SDP-NS Coalition were stronger in Bosniak districts, HRS and "Our Mostar" in Croat districts.
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