Bosnia and Herzegovina. The work of the international community to promote democracy and to create peace and reconciliation between Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Croats, Muslims and Serbs was unsuccessful during the year. The suspicion between the ethnic groups and the fear prevented them in the autumn general election from voting for political ideology. They only dared to bet on a politician from their own people group. Nationalist politicians from all three groups therefore celebrated triumphs in the elections that gave the war-marked leaders renewed authority and a kind of legitimacy to continue playing on the people’s fears. The elections were therefore a major defeat for the European Security and Cooperation Organization OSCE and for Carl Bildt’s successor, Carlos Westendorp, international peace coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
According to Countryaah, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina is Sarajevo. Serbia Živko Radišić became President of the Presidential Council and thus Bosnia and Herzegovina President for the first eight months of the two-year term. Radišić is the leader of the Bosnian branch of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević’s Socialist Party, Socijalistička Partija Srbije (SPS). The Croatian Council member was Ante Jelavić from Hvratska Demokratska Zajednica (HDZ), the extended arm of President Franjo Tudjman’s ruling party in Croatia. Bosnia’s former president Alija Izetbegović, leader of the Muslim Democratic Action Party, Stranka Demokratske Akcije (SDA), remains in the council, with the presidency rotating.
The Muslims closed the trail behind Izetbegović, who felt so secure in his place that he did not even run any election campaign. Republican Srpska’s new leader became Nikola Poplasen, who belongs to the extremely nationalist radical party, Srpska Radikalna Stranka, SRS. It was founded in Serbia by the ultranationalist Vojislav Šešelj, who was a free-year leader during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The election of the Poplas was a serious setback for the international community, which had invested millions of dollars in supporting former President Biljana Plavšić, who said he wanted to abide by the Dayton Agreement. She succeeded Serbaldar Radovan Karadžić and moved Republika Srpska’s capital from Pale ski resort to Banja Luka in the north.
The Prime Minister’s post was shared by Serb Boro Bosić and Muslim Haris Siljadžić. In Herzegovina in the southwest, where the Croats are dominant, former President Kresimir Zubak’s former member broke out of the ruling HDZ and formed his own party, Hrvatski Nezavisni Democracy (HND), independent Croatian Democrats. Zubak is practically the only politician of rank who has promised that even Muslims and Serbs have the right to return to their homes. For that, he received the support of the outside world and the OSCE, but not the electorate. It was Ante Jelavić who resigned with the victory after a dirty election campaign where Zubak’s reputation was blurred by HDZ.
At the same time, the deep divide between Muslims and Croats within the common federation emerged, which together with the Republika Srpska constitute Bosnia and Herzegovina. Westendorp has far greater powers of authority than Bildt had, and he has used these to enforce necessary reforms over the heads of the people elected and set aside elected politicians who have thwarted the democracy process. One of his most important tasks is to create democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but he has, in a contradictory way, often been forced to do so by undemocratic methods. Among the measures Westendorp has undertaken on its own is the introduction of a national flag for the entire country. However, it has not become a unifying symbol. However, all parties have been forced to use the new neutral number plates for the cars, which, unlike the old ones, lack national symbols. This is largely circumvented with its own nationalistic decals.
Hercegovina’s largest city Mostar is still divided between Muslims and Croats despite the EU’s massive efforts to create reconciliation. The SFOR force of just over 30,000 people had their mandate extended indefinitely. The force has arrested a number of suspected war criminals, but Serbaldar Radovan Karadžić, who, along with General Ratko Mladić, is prosecuted for, among other things. war crimes, have gone free. At the end of the year, General Radislav Krstić, charged with mass murder after the fall of the Muslim enclave Srebrenica in the summer of 1995 when several thousand Muslims were killed, was arrested. The arrest of the general was met with violent demonstrations and bombings in eastern Bosnia, especially in Krstić’s hometown of Vlasenica.