We are only three months away from the general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). Of course, traditionally the most interesting race is for members of the Presidency. When it comes to the race for Bosniak member, citizens have never had a clearer choice.
This time, only three candidates are in the running – Bakir Izetbegovic, the SDA candidate, Denis Becirovic, the united opposition candidate, and Mirsad Hadzikadic, the Platform for Progress candidate. Below we present an analysis of the key advantages and disadvantages of each of the candidates individually.
Strengths: Bakir Izetbegovic’s main advantage in politics, without which he would certainly not be in the position he is in, is his last name, that is, the fact that he is the son of the late Alija Izetbegovic, the first president of the Presidency of BiH.
In addition, another thing that could possibly be cited as an advantage over his competitors is his political experience, given that he leads the way in terms of years of experience in politics, in which he has been for more than 30 years. He can thank his last name for the fact that he enjoys the majority support of the Islamic community in BiH, whose infrastructure provides him with excellent logistics.
Disadvantages: The fact that Izetbegovic has been in politics for more than 30 years should disqualify him from holding office. Namely, so many decades of the ruling are opposed to Western democratic practice, and some countries such as the United States (U.S.) even determine the maximum number of presidential mandates. However, things are even more devastating when you look at the results of his thirty-year existence in politics. Izetbegovic is the leader of the party which, in coalition with its long-time partners SNSD and HDZ, reduced BiH to the level of one of the most underdeveloped and dysfunctional states in Europe. BiH is at the back of the region in terms of European integration, and even Moldova has overtaken us in this regard.
A particularly serious bad act of Izetbegovic was the fact that he humiliated the victims of the genocide in BiH when he deliberately misled the public regarding the review of the verdict against Serbia for genocide, for which it is becoming increasingly clear that he did everything to prevent it from succeeding.
For the function of a member of the Presidency, his activities in foreign policy were probably the most disastrous. Unlike his father Alija Izetbegovic, who managed to balance between the East and the West and ensured BiH the rare privilege of being friends with both the U.S. and Iran, both with the Jews and with the Arabs, during the previous two mandates of Izetbegovic, BiH was at a historical minimum in terms of its geopolitical position. Western leaders mostly avoided us, and relations with the Arab world were deeply damaged. We lost old friends and did not gain new ones.
Strengths: A broad coalition of opposition parties stands behind Denis Becirovic and this candidate will have a great support, but also the responsibility to show that different policies are possible in BiH than those that have been led by SDA cadres for years. As a proven anti-fascist and social democrat, Becirovic will have a much better chance of improving the reputation of BiH and Bosniaks in the West, leading a more responsible policy towards the East and contributing to better relations in the country and the region.
Weaknesses: The lack of experience in diplomacy can be pointed out as a key weakness of Becirovic. Although he spent most of his professional career as a politician, Becirovic lacks seniority in executive positions, as he was a member of parliament all the time.
Strengths: His education, doctorate, refined vocabulary, and experience in the U.S. are certainly in his favor.
Weaknesses: Although he entered the BiH political scene four years ago as a candidate for the Presidency, Hadzikadic showed us little. Despite the title of doctor and professor from the U.S., Hadzikadic offered very few concrete ideas, in his performances he mainly uses populism, often with caricature outbursts, and also fails to hide his obvious ignorance of the political situation in BiH and relations in the country.
As a man in his sixties, Hadzikadic spent the war years, in which the patriotism and loyalty to the state of BiH could be proven, in a comfortable position in the U.S., and he decided to come to BiH and become politically active after his retirement, i.e. after he no longer had anything smart to do in the U.S. He often seems lost in time and space, Avaz writes.