Monday, May 21, 2012

This Week in the News 


Former presidential candidate Tomislav Nikolić from the Progressive Party (SNS) accused his opponent Boris Tadić from the Democratic Party (DS) of electoral fraud. Nikolić stated that, should he not win the run off election on May 20, 2012, then nobody will ever know how the elections were rigged. Nikolić explained his decision of not withdrawing from the presidency. He will not grant Tadić the chance of winning the elections automatically, said Nikolić. Not only would it be against the law for me to withdraw, it would also be a crime to leave Serbia in Tadić’s hands. He is sure that the elections were rigged and said he will continue his bid for the presidency so as to win the runoff election. This way, Nikolić explained, everybody will know that there was electoral fraud. Nikolić also criticized Serbia’s media organization RTS of siding with Tadić.

Former presidential candidate for the Democratic Party (DS) Boris Tadić stated that presidential candidate for the Progressive Party (SNS) Tomislav Nikolić does not shy away from threating with destabilization and conflict so as to avoid his failed attempt at getting elected. If the OSCE, and all other CESID observer parties, including the people from the SNS in the polling places were satisfied with the elections, then Nikolić’s behavior simply shows that he is a sore loser. Tadić added that he was not surprised with Serbia’s general election results. Since 2000, said Tadić, people chose the way of stability and new chances. They do not wish to return to the situation of the 1990’s. Those who unable to lose are the ones that are surprised, said Tadić, adding that those are the ones who proclaim alleged irregularities regarding the votes. Tadić sees this as an alibi for those that may be poised to lose come May 20, 2012 – the presidential election of Serbia. Tadić expressed certainty that voters will continue to choose a pro-European policy that will bring investment, new jobs and stability to the region.

In the end, right wing politician Tomislav Nikolić won Serbia’s presidency. Vesna Peśić, former Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) MP of Serbia, believes that the reason for Tadić’s loss was the nature of his aggressive campaign. Tadić’s campaign, so Peśić, was unpleasant and his ruling appeared arrogant. His administration forgot about ordinary citizens who were left with nothing after the faulty privatization process. The outcome of the presidential campaign is the result of mismanaged governance, explains Peśić, adding that it is good that Serbia proved that the government is replacable. This should be a clear message to the new administration that they too could be replaced. Peśić predicted prior to the presidential elections that Tadić will not be re-elected. 

Tadić received his greatest support from the Sandžak region, said Meho Muhmatović, mayer of Novi Pazar. In the six municipalities that are located in Sandžak, 75,2 percent – or 83,231 supported Tadić whereas 24 percent – or 27,447 of the voters chose Nikolić. Muhmatović stated that Sandžak’s citizens voted for a pro-European administration and added that he hopes the new government will stay on its course toward Europe.  

Truck drivers blocked the road between Raška and Novi Pazar for several hours. The truckers were dissatisfied because they were not able to carry their cargo to Kosovo south of the Ibar River, across the administrative crossings of Jarinje and Brnjak. The blockade dissolved after some time the same day after a meeting with Meho Mahmutović, the mayor of Novi Pazar. Mahmutović promised to push for a resolution of the problems. There are about 3,000 trucks that are registered in Novi Pazar which carry fright for a large number of Serbian companies.

There are about 200 Roma that live in and around Novi Pazar, most of whom fled from Kosovo. According to Blic, these people live in tough conditions without water and electricity. Now, they asked the government for help. The responsible administrative bodies ought to bring electricity to the citizens and pave the roads. Mefail Đugatani, one of the Roma, said they would like to send their children to school, adding that it was hard for them to send their kids to school dirty.

“Sandžak za Tadića, jug za Nikolića”. B92. Accessed May 21, 2012.
“Vesna Peśić: Agresivna Tadićeva kampanja je odbila Ljude!” Telegraf. Accessed May 20, 2012.
“Romi iz Novog Pazara traže struju i vodu”. Blic Online. Accessed May 17, 2012.     
“Prekinuta blokada puta Raška”. RTS. Accessed May 16, 2012.ška+-+Novi+Pazar.html
“Nikolić: Ako ne pobedim, nikada nećete saznati kako je DS pokrao izbore”. Blic. Accessed May 14, 2012. 
“Tadić: Nikolićevi potezi alibi za neuspeh”. accessed May 14, 2012.   

Bosnia and Herzwgovina (BiH) 

An increasing number of foreign investors are withdrawing money from BiH. This year, reported the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, more money left BiH than was invested in it. Investors withdrew 100 million marks in capital while only half that sum was reinvested. From approximately 50 million marks, about 15 have been invested by Croatia and Slovenia while Switzerland, Italy and Turkey each invested about 5 million marks. Austrian companies withdrew about 45 million marks, Serbia 35 million and Luxembourg withdrew 28 million marks.

Mevlid Jašarević is likely to deny all charges against him this coming Wednesday. His lawyer, Senad Dupovac, explained that he can not be sure about his behavior in the courtroom while he is certain that he, Jašarević will plead not guilty regarding charges of terrorism. Jašarević’s partners, Emrah Fojnic and Muniba Ahmedspahić too are thought to plead not guilty.

Milorad Dodik, president of Republika Srpska (RS), stated that the “experiment” of state building in Bosnia i Herzegovina (BiH) had failed. Dodik again criticized the international community of having degraded the Dayton Accords. He believes RS to be a successful community in which everybody is welcome while he deems the BiH experiment a failure. Dodik added that RS ought to become an increasingly independent entity within BiH, without putting anybody at a disadvantage.

“Dodik: BiH neuspeno eksperiment”. RTS. Accessed May 18, 2012.     
“Jašarević će se izjasniti da nije kriv”. Accessed May 19, 2012.     
“Strani investor povlače novac iz BiH”. Accessed May 18, 2012.            

Monday, May 14, 2012

This Week in the News 

Bosnia i Herzegovina (BiH)

Muslims in Europe are isolated and are constantly forced to defend themselves, adjust and assimilate or else, they are forced to live in the ghetto. The West has granted Muslims various minority rights, but they still are still unhappy, why? First, they are not only an imagined minority, but also a real one. Second, societal behavior toward Muslims has not changed and they are thus still on the margins of the society, and left to solve their own daily troubles. The West is realizing too late that this isolation contributes to the emergence of fundamentalism and terrorism. Terrorists are not telling us that they will live better in the company of virgins in paradise. Instead, they are telling us that they want to dye because they cannot live humanely here on earth. Islam, for many, became a tool of social and political resistance. Women are wearing the headscarf not solely as a symbol of dignity, no. The headscarf is an image that symbolizes resistance – a symbol that is provoking. Yet, why, one wonders, is it so provoking when even Mother Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, wears a headscarf? Why is covering one’s body thought of as provoking while women all over Europe display their naked bodies in red-light districts? These days we are listening to politicians who argue for better and more inclusive immigration. Angela Merkel even said that multiculturalism and assimilation has failed. The better question to ask, however, would be if multiculturalism ever existed? The new generation will plow the way. The third generation no longer wishes to work on construction sites or shipyards like the first generation, and they no longer want to live in ghettos like the second generation. Meanwhile, for those who would like to see Islam disappear from Europe, Bosnia presents a special problem. The problem with Bosniaks is that they own their land, a country, while being Bosniak is autochthone with being Muslim. Bosnia is therefore something of an oddity for Western Europe, and one it will have to get used to.

BiH authorities and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed to continue negotiations on May 16th 2012 as was confirmed by the head of BiH’s IMF mission in Sarajevo, Costas Christou. Christou stated that all he could confirm now, was that BiH’s authorities showed interest in renewing the IMF program. Before the talks, BiH’s economic situation must be assessed, then, we can talk about the new credit arrangements. BiH’s president of the council of ministers Vjekoslav Bevanda explained that renewing the BiH – IMF partnership was necessary as he believes that this will be the only way to bring BiH’s finances in order. Finance minister of the Federation of BiH Anto Krajina stated that he is ready to cooperate with the IMF. Republika Srpska’s (RS) finance minister Zoran Tegeltija too agreed to cooperate with the IMF.

“BiH uskoro započinje nove pregovore sa MMF-om”. Slobodna Dalmacija. Accessed May 11, 2012.        
“Muslimani, getoizacija ili zbogom”. Al Jazeera Balkans. accessed May 11, 2012.   


According to election headquarters in Novi Pazar, Rasim Ljajić’s Social Democratic Party of Serbia (SDP) received the most votes during the municipal elections. By 10pm May 6th, the SDP had received 2o percent, or 4,315 votes, the Democratic Action Party (SDA) got 2,587 and the Bosniak Democratic Community (BDZ). According to the same source, the SDP also received the most votes in Prijepolje while the SDA won in Sjenica and Tutin. Representatives of Muamer Zukorlić stated that his greatest support came from Sandžak based municipalities.

The Belgrade parliament will look as follows: 73 seats went to the “Turn Serbia” coalition lead by Nikolić’s Progressive Party (SNS), the coalition “For a Better Life” lead by Tadić’s (DS) received 68 seats. The third strongest coalition is centered around Ivica Dačić’s Sociaist Party (SPS) with 45, followed by the “Reversal” coalition lead by Čedomir Jovanović with 20 seats. 16 members will represent the “United Regions of Serbia” movement, the “Alliance of Vojvodinian Hungarians” have five representatives, the “Democratic Action Party” of Sandžak and the coalition “Together” will each have one seat.

The German analysis portal “Deutsche Welle” (German Wave) explained that overall, Serbia did not stray far from its political course regarding its elections. Voters decided to stay on the course toward EU integration. Serbs, in other words have put continued trust in the parties that hitherto represented their interests. This comes despite Serbia’s current situation. The country is crushed under the weight of the economic crisis, unemployment has reached unprecedented heights, and people are not being paid regularly, corruption blossoms. Nevertheless, Boris Tadić (DS) has good chances to renew his mandate as president in coalition with Ivica Dačić (SPS). In all, Milošević’s successors appear to be the biggest successors of the parliamentary elections as the SPS recorded the largest voter increase. They are now confident to start new negotiations regarding their coalition. SPS leader Ivica Dačić who until now was minister of the interior could now become a strong competitor to Tadić. Meanwhile, Tomislav Nikolić’s SNS is not likely to take over the government. Serbian voters, amidst the widespread economic misery, opted for the lesser evil. Voters know what to expect while strong headway toward EU accession is probable. Also, one can expect continued dialogue and normalization of relations with Kosovo. The EU will likely ask of Serbia to discontinue the parallel institutions and to abandon her influence there. Nevertheless, the DS’s loss of 1/3 of the vote illustrates that voters are disappointed with the ruling coalition’s efforts regarding the slow economy. The government’s main task will be to reform Serbia’s political climate and further pursue EU accession. The judicial system has to be reformed, firms must be privatized and corruption and the organized crime must be fought more effectively. For all these reasons, it will be interesting to see how the presidential race will play out between Nikolić and Tadić. Tadić has a slight advantage, but also good chances that the socialists will support him. However, it is not sure yet that he will be re-elected. Even if Nikolić were to win the second round, it would not be so fateful for Serbia’s elections. Nikolić’s party has not yet rid itself from its dark past. After breaking away from he radical party lead by Vojislav Šešelj, the party has not dealt with its past in which it supported paramilitary troops during the 1990’s war. However, the schism was only tactically as Nikolić is unable to govern for as long as Šeśelj is in The Hague. But, even if Nikolić were to win the elections, Serbia’s way toward the EU would not be jeopardized.

According to the Rijaset of Serbia’s Islamic Community, the election results in Serbia illustrate that mufti Muamer Zukorlić does not enjoy support in Sandźak. All Muslims should unite within a single Islamic Community (IZ). The Rijaset pointed out that one characteristic worth noting is that the parliamentary elections were a victory for parties that opted for integration, and a defeat – at all levels – for parties with radical agendas. Zukorlić who received 20 percent of the vote, so the Rijaset, is completely defeated. It is a statement by the Bosniak community of Sandžak that they support the basic principles of Islam that area also applicable to legal regulations. Zukorlić, meanwhile also proved to have stepped out of the framework of these frameworks and thus ceased to be a mufti. The Rijaset announced that thus, all conditions are fulfilled for the reunification of Serbia’s Islamic Community. The Rijaset urged all religious officials, imams and religious teachers to formally embrace the unified Islamic Community. The Rijaset also called on relevant state authorities to resolve the issue of registration of churches and religious communities to enable equality of Serbia’s Islamic Community with all other religious communities in Serbia.

“Ujedinjene muslimana, bez Zukorlića”. Mondo. Accessed May 14, 2012.     
“Od dva zla birači u Srbiji izabrali manje”. DW.DE. accessed May 14, 2012.,,15934022,00.html             
“Democrate 68, naprednici 73!” Kurir. Accessed May 14, 2012.      
“Vesti iz zemlje”. Beta press. Accessed May 11, 2012.