After the Election Commission of the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) announced that Bakir Izetbegovic was the only candidate for SDA president at the upcoming Congress, and that his opponent Semsudin Mehmedovic did not meet the requirements for candidacy, they clarified that the entire election process was conducted in accordance with the statute. However, the SDA is not the only party whose congress chooses between one candidate for party president, this has become a bad practice, according to experts.
According to the data of the SDA Election Commission, there were several times more proposals for Izetbegovic‘s candidacy, but there were also many irregularities that led to the expulsion of Mehmedovic from the race.
“We had a case, for example, where there were double candidacies. First, a proposal came in a regular, timely period for Izetbegovic, and subsequently a proposal came for Mehmedovic. Bearing in mind that these were like two proposals, we said that we would not evaluate either of theseproposas. We did not include such a proposal at all as relevant from the municipal organization,“ said Nezir Pivic, president of the SDA Election Commission.
A different outcome is not even expected, according to experts. It is bad for the Party of Democratic Action that there were not two candidates, and thus the democracy within the most numerous party in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina(FBiH) is questionable.
“Some people would say that it is a simple farce, it means portraying the party in a light that is not good. It shows that the democratic processes in the SDA do not work, that every opposition voice is stifled, and this will probably now have an impact on the influence of that party on membership but also on its rating in the public,“ told Ranko Mavrak, political analyst.
SDA is not the only party that chooses between one candidate and that is bad, Patria portal journalist Amra Vrabac explains. In some parties, there is not even an election commission, nor is the public aware whether other members even tried to run for party president.
“We do not know how Milorad Dodik is the only candidate. Was there a party nomination, or is it simply a well-known fact that he is the owner of SNSD and then he will remain at the head of that party? The same situation is with HDZ BiH. No one opposed Dragan Covic, even from the smaller parties of the Croatian National Assembly (HNS), no one was a candidate,” recalls Vrabac.
The example of the Congress of Our Party (Nasa stranka) shows that one candidate for president is also a practice for smaller parties. After the withdrawal of Predrag Kojovic, they had only Edin Forto as a candidate, as well as Elmedin Konakovic in Narod i Pravda (People and Justice). However, unlike other parties, Konakovic explains that the statute of this party defines that one person can only be elected twice as party president.
“I think that it is the most democratic concept that is also applied when it comes to the president of America, and I think that it is enough that you do what you need to do for two terms of four years. Everything else beyond that is autocracy,” says the President of Narod i Pravda Elmedin Konakovic.
Regardless, the fact is, trusting a man for decades is a double-edged sword. The practice of good party leadership or the path to autocracy? Perhaps the next congress or a reduced number of party members in the coming period will answer this question.