Popular individual or party infrastructure, the question is who contributes more to the overall result in the elections, and whether individuals who achieved a large number of votes can repeat those results even after leaving the political party they belonged to.
In the general elections of 2022, a number of politicians will appear with different political options compared to the elections of 2018. Some of them won thousands and even tens of thousands of votes in the 2018 elections. The question arises whether they will be able to achieve such results under other party characteristics.
One of the individuals who will appear with the new party is the former president of the SDP Tuzla cantonal committee Enver Bijedic. Due to disagreements with the leadership of the SDP, Bijedic left the SDP after the 2018 general elections and formed a new political party, the SDBiH. As an SDP candidate for the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina (PABiH), Bijedic won 18.758 votes.
Several individuals who held leading party positions also left the SDA. Denis Zvizdic was vice-president and member of the SDA Presidency until 2019 when he moved to the new People and Justice party. As an SDA candidate for the state parliament, Zvizdic won 38.506 votes. Aljosa Campara, a member of the Presidency of this party, also left SDA and moved to People and Justice. As a candidate for the Canton Sarajevo (CS) Assembly, Campara won 10.838 votes.
The political transfer was also made by the mayor of the municipality of Novi Grad Sarajevo, Semir Efendic. As a candidate for the CS Assembly in 2018, Efendic won 30.724 votes for the SDA, and in the local elections for mayor in 2020, he received 21.100 votes. Efendic left the SDA and became the president of the Party for BiH.
Professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Sarajevo, Elmir Sadikovic, says that BiH is a country of unconsolidated political pluralism and a society with a backward political culture compared to developed European countries.
”The proportional electoral system with a low electoral threshold of three percent (which would have to be increased) contributes to the irrational fragmentation of political organization. More than 90 percent of political parties do not have a recognizable political identity and a stable electorate. For this reason, they necessarily base their campaign on recognizable individuals, usually party leaders. The success of these parties, as well as their lifetime, is proportional to the political popularity of the party leader at a given moment,” Sadikovic states.
Sadikovic explains that the ideological identification of voters with a party in BiH is not nearly as strong as it is in developed European countries where parties have a clear ideological profile.
”For this reason, a significant number of voters in BiH identify with individuals. The basis of this identification is the popularity of the individual, regardless of the source of this popularity or his/her actual political competence,” he adds.
”Of course, political parties are made up of people. In the countries of Western Europe, political parties have recognizable individuals and leaders with whom voters identify. However, I am of the opinion that in our political reality many individuals overestimate their real possibilities and political reach, ignoring the importance of party infrastructure in the electoral process,” Sadikovic concludes, Klix.ba writes.