Banja Luka, October 4, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Mladen Dragojlovic
According to still incomplete and unofficial election results is clear that Alliance of independent social democrats (SNSD) and its coalition partners, Democratic People’s Union and socialist Party, won the local elections with impressive result, leaving opposition coalition Alliance for changes far away from pre-election expectations.
SNSD won the elections in 11 municipalities where Alliance for changes’ members were on power in the last mandate. The opposition loses the elections in some of the most important places, such as the city of Trebinje, on far south of the country, and Pale, which for decades was the opposition SDS party stronghold. SNSD new elected Mayor of Banja Luka, Igor Radojicic, became the winner with more than 50 000 votes, which is a rare case in all previous elections in BiH.
But, elections didn’t cause just the problems to opposition parties on local level. Louder are the voices that entire coalition Alliance for changes is near to fall apart. This coalition, which is consisted from SDS, PDP and NDP parties, had the agreement to support the candidates for mayors in most important places but even so their candidates were not able to defeat SNSD. Their candidate for Banja Luka Mayor, Dragan Cavic, was ex RS president, president of NDP and MP in RS National Assembly with a large experience in politic but it was not enough to defeat Radojicic. That fact and the fact that coalition members didn’t support the PDP member for Trebinje Mayor, Slavko Vucurevic, triggered the dissatisfaction in PDP which begun to consider its exit from the coalition. PDP president, Branislav Borenovic, denied this rumors but unofficial sources from the party confirmed that it is one of the options which will be discussed in the following period. In any case it must be decided before the New Year in order to begin preparations for general election as an independent party, without a coalition partnership.
More than PDP, Serb Democratic Party was shaken by the bad election results. Their president, Mladen Bosic, said that he will resign if the party concludes that he is responsible for the debacle. At this moment however, it seems that the door for his departure is already open. Even before his resignation is decided, analysts are trying to figure out who will be his successor. Most of them, as most serious candidate, mention Mirko Sarovic, present BiH Minister of Foreign trade and one of the founder of SDS party. Second is the Mayor of city of Bijeljina, Mico Micic, who won the previous election with a significant difference, but on this elections he fights for the position with SNSD candidate Zlatko Maksimovic. Both of them, Sarovic and Micic, have leadership capabilities which will mean that SDS will make the crucial step of its reinvention, from the party with a president who made decisions on the basis of agreement with other officials, to a party with a strong leader, as is SNSD president Milorad Dodik. The situation will be resolved in the next week or two, but any solution will mean that SDS needs to transform itself into a more attractive party for new members.
Even though the results are still not official, International community High Representative, Valentin Inzko, pointed out to one of the most important aspects. He is not satisfied with number of citizens who vote on local elections.
“Less than 55 percent turnout is somewhat disappointing. But it is important that citizens continue to take an active role in shaping their future by deciding on who should represent them for the next four years in their local communities”, Inzko said.
He added that, once the complete results are known and confirmed by the Central Election Commission, those who have been elected should serve the people and their interests above all.
“They must keep in mind who elected them and who can remove them in case they fail to perform. At the same time, civic engagement does not stop with the casting of ballots. Communicate with your elected leaders. Let them know about issues that matter to you and your community and about what you expect from them. This is your right”, Inzko emphasized.
Photo: Newly elected Banja Luka mayor Igor Radojicic