Sociologist: Bosnia's political parties function based on cult of personality

NEWS 29.06.2022 22:06
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Source: N1

As a result of a transition process ongoing for the past 30 years, political parties in Bosnia function based on a “cult of personality” and this is why critical thinking is discouraged and corruption is tolerated among party members, sociologist Tomislav Tadic told N1.

Tadic is a professor at the Faculty of Philosophy in Sarajevo and the son of Bosnia’s former Chief Prosecutor, Gordana Tadic, who was sanctioned by the United States in April for “being responsible for or complicit in, or for having directly or indirectly engaged in, actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in the Western Balkans,” according to the US Treasury.

Her son publicly expressed support for the move.

“I unequivocally support US sanctions, even when they are imposed on my mother. If this is the way to a better tomorrow for all of us, to a better BiH, so be it,” he wrote on social media at the time.

Speaking to N1, Tadic reiterated this position, adding that he hopes that those who truly rule over the lives of BiH citizens and brought the country into its current situation will also end up on the list of those sanctioned by the US.

He stressed that the way political parties whose officials were sanctioned reacted was completely different from the way he did. The parties instead defended their officials and tried to find ways to justify their actions, he said.

“It speaks of the state of our society, not in a formal sense but in its essence,” he said, noting that the highest level of corruption happens at the municipal level.

“Silent corruption systematically destroys society,” he warned.

Tadic gave the example of the Party for Democratic Action (SDA), which the US Embassy recently accused of “attempting to block or disrupt corruption investigations.”

He noted that the party responded by denying the allegations and that it is obvious that parties will be much more tolerant of crimes if they are committed by their members.

“This applies to both those in power and the opposition,” he said, noting that officials can rarely be heard criticising members of their own political party.

According to the sociologist, this is because parties in BiH function based on a “cult of personality”, similar to what the late Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito used to represent.

“It is the same today. They will blindly follow their leaders. It is the result of a transition process that has been going on here for 30 years. They are interconnected through large amounts of money, the jobs they are given, and it is all built on a debt repayment system,” he said, arguing that in such a system, doing what the party leaders demand is the only option.

According to Tadic, opposition parties in BiH are no different since none of them offers an alternative to this, so “critical thinking is being systematically destroyed.”

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