Komsic’s Party Promises Bosnia Political Alternative

Balkan Insight
Publication date: 
Apr 08 2013

The Democratic Front, the new party led by Komsic, the Croat member of the Bosnian tripartite presidency, was launched on Sunday, promising an alternative to the current governing forces with a line-up consisting of mostly young politicians capable of moving the country forward.

Komsic said that Bosnia and Herzegovina needs more democracy and has to acquire the habit of listening to others.

“We are just starting,” Komsic said on Sunday in Sarajevo.

“Citizens want to live better and it is up to us how much we can ensure that for them, how much they will trust us,” he said.

But experts are divided about the new party’s chances; some say it’s a fresh initiative with a popular face as its leader, while others suggest it will not win support from Croats and Serbs and has little chance of success in the next elections in 2014.

Tvrtko Milovic, a columnist at a right-wing-oriented Croat news portal, said that Komsic's new party will benefit from his personal values of honesty and fairness but nevertheless will not get the support of Croats.

“It is hard to expect that the DF [Democratic Front] will build some serious politics which could offer concrete solutions,” Milovic told Balkan Insight.

“There are more chances that Komsic's shallow left wing will radicalise an already radicalised electorate,” he said.

Milovic said that Komsic's political moves over the last several years showed him incapable of communicating with the Croat electorate because he never fought for their interests in particular.

“Komsic never showed interest in Croats himself... so mutual ignorance can be expected,” he suggested.

An analyst from Banja Luka, Srdjan Puhalo, told Balkan Insight that Komsic has a good starting position since he is considered a principled and brave politician who is also seen as a great political hope by the international community.

“At this point he can make big promises because he still did not lose his 'virginity',” Puhalo said.

But he added that “it is questionable whether his politics will be followed by his collaborators and party members”.

Puhalo pointed out that everything in the country functions on the basis of ethnicity but Komsic's party has declared itself to be an inclusive Bosnian-Herzegovinian party.

“I think he won't have much support among Serbs as well as among Croats,” Puhalo said.

Even though he is officially representing Croats in the state presidency, where he is currently serving his second mandate, Komsic's rhetoric has always been directed towards all the country’s citizens.

But because was elected to the presidency as a member of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, the largest Croat party, the Croat Democratic Union, HDZ, claimed that he was won office due to support from Bosniaks and those who don’t claim membership of any of the three main ethnic groups.

Disagreements with the SDP’s policies led him to leave last July and form his own party, banking on his high popularity ratings.

He particularly opposed SDP-backed plans for constitutional changes, which say that state presidency members should not be chosen directly in elections in future, but by parliament instead.

The proposed changes follow a 2009 European Court of Human Rights ruling in the Sejdic and Finci case, which said that Bosnia had to change its constitution and allow ethnic minorities run for top posts that are currently reserved for the three largest ethnic groups, Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs.

Komsic said the planned change would only create new forms of discrimination, because the ethnically-based parties in parliament were unlikely to choose presidency members from among the country's minorities.

He had resigned all his SDP party posts four months earlier, saying that the SDP was not doing enough to address the real problems in the country, such as corruption.


Kenan Efendic