Oct 16 2014

Which way out of the Bosnian deadlock?

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Most commentators point at a critical deadlock in Bosnian politics. Part of LSEE blog’s editorial team roamed Bosnia during the October 12 general elections and endeavoured to list down the main issues encountered on the ground. No easy solutions are on offer: add your further thoughts on problems & possible solutions as comments to this blog post or email them to us.

 

Nationalism is as present as ever

Bosnia and Herzegovina is tripartite in almost every aspect of its functioning, the most emblematic expression of which being its rotating presidency. Politicians tend to appeal to the ethnicity they represent because the system rewards them for that.

Many voters in urban settlements have indicated their wish for a more unified and fair system: “I hope that one day we can choose candidates not on the basis of their ethnicity, but of their real value” (Emina, Sarajevo). In practice, however, there is no big reward for politicians to advocate for a more united Bosnia.

In addition, “the economy does not work, so politicians play the nationalist card even harder”, says Dragan, an analyst and entrepreneur from Banja Luka.

Dragan Mocevic

Dragan Mocevic from Banja Luka, posing in front of Gavrilo Princip’s tomb in Sarajevo: photo Tena Prelec/LSEE

 

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Oct 13 2014

Bosnia – voting for the devil you know

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Jessie Hronesova resizedThe Bosnian electorate failed to make a choice that would bring real change, in spite of signs throughout 2014 that the discontent for the current political set-up was about to reach a tipping point. “Voting for moderate parties, which would base their programmes on other than Dayton-linked demands, is simply too risky. People opt for the devil they know rather than the devil they don’t”, argues Jessie Hronesova.

 

Streets of Banja Luka on the election night, photo: Jakub Krupa/LSEE

Streets of Banja Luka on the election night, photo: Tena Prelec/LSEE

 

To any external observer, the October 12 general elections in Bosnia might have seemed as a great opportunity for people to take power back into their hands and hold their corrupt political elites accountable for embezzling billions of dollars. But the electoral results, unsurprisingly, will hardly lead to a game-changer. Even if the past year’s events were truly unprecedented in the Bosnian post-Dayton history, they have not changed the general cowed approach to electoral risk-taking in Bosnia.

There are several reasons for this electoral behaviour. Continue reading

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Oct 9 2014

Experts react: EU progress reports 2014

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On Wednesday 8 October, outgoing Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle announced the Commission’s annual reports on the progress achieved by EU candidate and potential candidate countries. Our experts give an overview of the reports’ main takeaways for each country. 

Outgoing Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle. Image from ec.europa.eu

Outgoing Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle. Image from ec.europa.eu

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Oct 7 2014

Experts react: 2014 Bulgarian parliamentary elections

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Bulgaria held parliamentary elections on 5 October following the resignation of the country’s government in July. We asked five experts in Bulgarian politics for their reactions to the result, which saw former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov’s Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) emerge with the largest share of seats in parliament.

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Oct 5 2014

Bulgarian elections 2014 liveblog

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Welcome to our Bulgarian parliamentary elections 2014 liveblog!

Bulgarian voters go to the polls today to decide on the composition of their next government. EUROPP’s Stuart Brown and LSEE’s Tena Prelec and Aleksandra Stankova will be posting live comments on the elections and their results starting in the afternoon of Sunday, 5 October and again in the morning of Monday, 6 October. You can see infographics of vote predictions and details of polling stations in the UK here, here and here.

Taking part in the vote? Have an opinion? Send us your updates and comments via email or tweet them @LSEE_LSE.

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Oct 4 2014

Maria Spirova on the Bulgarian elections: key players and electoral corruption

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MariaSpirovaIn the second part of her conversation with LSEE, Maria Spirova introduces the main players in the upcoming Bulgarian parliamentarian elections and elaborates on the phenomenon of electoral fraud. “Large-scale electoral fraud is expected by everyone – and this is exactly part of the problem”, she says. Read the first part of the interview with her here

 

For an outline of all parties competing in the elections, check out Stuart Brown’s post on EUROPP.

Bulgaria - opinion polls - framed

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Sep 26 2014

Is Kosovo’s young democracy growing well?

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andrea capusselaThe June 2014 elections in Kosovo have led to a political deadlock that is now freezing the young country. Despite a marked decline in election fraud, both contenders for the premiership are seen as ‘key personalities of organised crime’. The picture is sombre and yet heralds new opportunities, argues Andrea Lorenzo Capussela: “the crisis is the result of ill-conceived and malfunctioning institutions and the apparent breakdown of the intra-élite pact, which opens opportunities but entails also risks”.

A Western diplomat recently conceded that ‘industrial fraud’ took place during Kosovo’s 2010 parliamentary elections, about which the international community ‘closed its eyes’: according to the (plausible) calculation of an opposition politician I then spoke to, fraud determined the allocation of about one third of the parliamentary seats. Less and lesser fraud was observed during the general elections held on 8 June 2014. But they opened a serious political crisis, which illuminates the gap that still separates – I argue in a forthcoming book – the formal political institutions of Kosovo from its real governance system.

kosovo table 1

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Sep 25 2014

Maria Spirova: “Party politics in Bulgaria has become completely nonsensical”

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Bulgaria will hold parliamentary elections on 5 October following the resignation of the Bulgarian government in July. In an interview with LSEE’s Tena Prelec and EUROPP’s editor Stuart Brown, Maria Spirova discusses the protests which have taken place in Bulgaria since 2013, the party politics of the country, and the bank crisis which underpinned the resignation of the government. Stay tuned: the second part of the interview will be published next week.

 

boyko borisov

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Sep 22 2014

Kosovo Constitutional Court debate: ‘Instead of a Reply – Comparing Apples and Oranges’

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Donike QerimiWe receive and publish the third contribution to the debate surrounding Kosovo’s Constitutional Court and the extension of the mandate of its foreign judges: Donikë Qerimi replies back to Andrea Lorenzo Capussela. The levels the discussion has taken place on, she argues, are fundamentally different. Further reactions to the debate are encouraged as comments to the blog posts.

 

Read all the posts concerning the Kosovo Constitutional Court debate here.

from idahodems.org

from idahodems.org

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Sep 20 2014

“The mandate of EU judges in Kosovo’s Constitutional Court” is illegal: a response

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andrea capusselaAndrea Lorenzo Capussela replies to Doniqe Qerimi’s post on the legality of the extension of the mandate of foreign judges who sit in Kosovo’s Constitutional Court, reaching opposite conclusions and arguing that the President’s actions would justify her impeachment. “For the EU, appointing judges to the Constitutional Court would amount to recognizing it and, with it, also Kosovo’s independence. So EULEX and the EU never had, do not have, and do not want to have a power to appoint constitutional judges”, is one of the arguments he puts forward.

Read all the posts concerning the Kosovo Constitutional Court debate here.

 

from eulex-kosovo.eu

 

I disagree with Donikë Qerimi’s post on this matter in this blog, and with her forceful last words: the conclusions she reaches should be clear, she says, “at least to anybody who understands law.” Touché: I reached different conclusions – in articles published a dozen days ago in Kosovo’s press and elsewhere – but cannot claim any expertise in Kosovo law. Yet I think that ordinary logic and some plain general principles are sufficient to cast at least some doubt on Qerimi’s confident arguments, for the question really is rather simple, and refreshingly free of legal intricacies.

So you are about to watch a duel between two mutually incompatible arguments, leading to diametrically opposite conclusions: it will be easy for the widowed queen to decide which knight has prevailed, and should inherit the kingdom (Qerimi is a woman, of course, but that’s no obstacle as women famously can be knights, and valiant too: think of Bradamante in Ariosto’s Orlando furioso). So let’s survey the ground set for the duel: what both knights agree about.

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