Democratic Consolidation

Trump, Putin, Europe and the Balkans: what happens next?

Sitting in the ‘Palata predsjednika Republike Srpske’, looking out across the autumnal vista in the adjacent park, Milorad Dodik is no doubt a happy man. As the last votes from Florida came in and one by one the swing states fell to president elect Donald Trump, Dodik’s (once unlikely) plan to split Bosnia in half and declare an independent Republic of Srpska just got a shot of epinephrine.

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Trumping the Balkans

While a number of commentators have noticed the parallels between Milošević and Trump (see here and here), little has been said on the impact a Trump presidency is likely to have for the Balkans. The only two places which have expressed their enthusiasm for Trumps victory are Sevnica and...

EU Must Highlight Serbia’s Democratic Deficiencies

This week’s annual European progress report should focus on the democratic deficiencies in Serbia as well as the country’s achievements, in order to prevent backsliding towards an illiberal political system.

On Monday evening, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic addressed the nation via public broadcaster RTS and talked about the emerging surplus in the state budget, the newly-opened 40-kilometre-long highway in central Serbia, and an alleged assassination attempt against him.

What the prime minister did not talk about were issues relating to the...

RS Referendum - The Emperor has no clothes, but don’t blame it on the Court or Bosniaks

The influential British journalist Marcus Tanner argued that the Bosnian Constitutional Court should have never decided on such deeply controversial issue as the RS National Holiday: “It is hard to see what business judges have in ruling on whether people should celebrate January 9th, 10th, 11th, or any other day.  Marika Djolai joined Tanner, on the lines of this blog, in blaming...

The Republic Srpska Referendum and the Bleak Future of Bosnia and Herzegovina

20 years after the end of the war in 1995, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is still marred by lack of political progress and stuck in the situation of stabile unresolvedness. Recurrent political crises are a sad reality, whith political leaders of the two entities and three nationalist parties continuously pushing to establish sovereignty of their geographic or imagined territories in the hope that this will secure them a permanent ruling position. Quite often, they create turmoil to avert attention from more pressing social and economic problems resulting in challenging living conditions,...

The parallel universe: bilateral issues and the future of the Western Balkans

The future of the Western Balkans (WB6) remains uncertain. The region is plagued by a number of persisting challenges, most notably bilateral issues which require resolution. These largely fall within the political sphere, and are primarily related to the history of the region and its recent wars. Existing disputes between the Western Balkan countries encompass a vast range of issues, from unresolved border or territorial disputes between the former Yugoslav republics to economic and property issues, identity, protection and representation of national minorities, and the status of refugees...

Presidential Pardon Debunks Fragility of Macedonian State Institutions

President Ivanov’s general abolition, granted on April 12 this year (to 56 persons), partially withdrawn on May 27 (only for 22 persons) and then completely withdrawn on June 6 (for the remaining 33 persons - one pardoned person, Kosta Krpac, who was actually a witness of the Special Public Prosecution, allegedly committed suicide) can be analyzed in two separate aspects: legally and socio-politically. In regard to the legal aspect, any well-informed lawyer with common legal sense can observe without doubt the continuous decadence of the entire legal reasoning behind the process that,...

The Masks have Fallen in Serbian House of Cards

Last Wednesday 15,000 Serbian citizens protested against the illegal demolition of several sites on the Belgrade riverbank in the Savamala district's Hercegovačka Street. The buildings in Hercegovačka Street were demolished during the election night between April 24-25 in order to pave the way for the controversial Belgrade Waterfront project. Although the direct perpetrators of the demolition project breached several constitutionally guaranteed rights, including the inviolability of physical and mental integrity, right to freedom and security, and peaceful tenure of a person’s own...

Opposition in the Montenegrin Government: Who will win the game of chess?

In May, as Montenegro celebrates 10 years of its independence, a new government is being forged with no elections preceding it - a government that is supposed to ensure trust in the electoral process.

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This is apparently the positive outcome of several months of dialogue between the authorities and opposition, with the...

Huge Victory for EU Parties in Serbia

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz was quick to congratulate to Aleksandar Vučić on his victory in Sundays elections in Serbia. The German conservative MEP David McAllister joined the victory celebration of the Progressive Party (SNS), apparently being a bit disappointed that a party winning nearly 50% of the vote did have a more enthusiastic celebration. Headlines across Europe celebrate a victory for reforms and EU. However, the reality of early elections in Serbia are much more sobering.

Serbian PM Aleksandar Vučić triggered early Parliamentary elections...

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