Electioneering in Sarajevo

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I woke up at 5.30 AM that morning, unable to get back to sleep. I decided to head outdoors and get some long exposures of the city–I always find there is something enchanting about a city waking up. I set my tripod right across the National Bank, a beautiful building that was even more captivating in the wee hours. Of course, as soon as I clicked this van stopped right in front of my camera. I left quite upset, since the van wasn’t about to move anytime soon. However, when I later saw the photo on my computer, I recalled all the things the locals had been telling me about politicians. It is pre-election period in Bosnia and Hercegovina and Sarajevo is full of posters of politicians.

Whenever the subject of politics was brought up, people immediately expressed their frustration with politicians and their divide-and-conquer politics. Whether it was just coincidence that I got this reaction so often is open to debate, however, I later discovered that there probably is good reason for this frustration. It appears that the system of regional governments in Bosnia and Hercegovina is so complicated that decision-making is compromised by micro politics. At the same time, I was told that people seem united on the surface, but political leaders promote and take advantage of social disputes for their rise to power, while corruption remains undisturbed. Apparently, the current political system of Bosnia and Hercegovina, was supposed to be a temporary solution that would end the war in 1995, but has not changed in 20 years. No wonder, I thought, people are so frustrated–they seem stuck in political purgatory gone wrong.


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