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BSC Hosts Panel on BiH 2022 General Elections – Analysis and Glimpse of Future Political Change

Following the 2022 General Elections that were held in Bosnia and Herzegovina on October 2, IUS Balkans Studies Centre organized a panel discussion titled „2022 General Election Results and Analysis: A Glimpse of Future Political Change“. The panel was designed for students of Political Science and International Relations study programs to gain more knowledge about the BiH political system, political participation and implications of 2022 Election results.

The event was moderated by the Head of the Department of Social Sciences and Manager of the Balkan Studies Centre, Prof. Dr. Muhidin Mulalić who introduced the panellists, Associate Professor Dr. Mirsad Karić and Assistant Professor Dr. Jahja Muhasilović. Prof. Mulalić noted that such a scholarly panel represents a civic responsibility as it not only presents the election results, but it also analyses the implications of the elections in the context of their integrity, transparency and fairness. He underlined that the attendees will have an opportunity to learn from the panellists how the government is structured and to foresee, following the official publishing and implementation of the election results, will there be any political, social and economic transformations on all levels of authority in BiH.

The initial panellist, Asst. Dr. Jahja Muhasilović focused on analysing the political campaigns that were run by different political parties throughout the three ethnic corpuses. He noted that in general, BiH political parties lack political culture whereby the main discourse is accusation of the opponents rather than the presentation of the party's action plan. He added that the campaign was dirty in numerous segments and was marked by inter-ethnic fights notably among the Bosniaks. Commenting on the low election turnout, he stressed that the lack of interest among the BiH diaspora was disappointing and that they could have played a crucial role in the overall election results appealing on BiH citizens living abroad to take a more active role in their homeland in order to prevent dissolution of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the long run. One of the significant topics of Dr. Muhasilović's presentation focused on the amendments to the BiH Election Law passed during the election night by the High Representative to BiH Christian Schmidt. He explained the implications of such imposition noting that the media is falsely presenting the amendments as the unblocking of government formation in the Federation of BiH but that it rather cements the role and participation of the Croat ruling political party HDZ in the formation of government in all levels of authority giving them the leverage to blackmail and pinpoint to any desired seat in the government.

Associate Professor Dr. Mirsad Karić presented in brief the complexity of the BiH political system. He explained the different levels of authority and their organization stressing that it is one of the most complicated political systems in the world and thus highly dysfunctional adding that the latest decision of the High Representative regarding the amendments to the BiH Election Law will make it even more dysfunctional. Although the official election results have not been published eight days into the elections, Dr. Karić presented the preliminary results made available thus far by the BiH Central Election Commission. He indicated to the possible arrangements in the government formation and pointed to mathematical variations in the future coalition formations. However, he stressed that despite some logical combinations, it is impossible to predict how the future government structure will evolve.

In addition to bringing more in-depth analysis on the implications of general election results, the panel was aimed at promoting and discussing political issues among IUS students in order to help them activate their political engagement and socio-political leadership once they graduate from the University.

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