Post-Election Bosnia

The elections in Bosnia had an impressive turnout - despite deep concerns that many refugee voters were kept from their polling places - and a minimum of violence. That much can be appreciated. But this exercise in democractic process raises more questions than it settles.

To no one's surprise, nationalist parties appear to have won overwhelming majorities. Can Bosnia's tripartite presidency work? These three men have fierce group allegiances, but they may recognize a joint interest in restoring Bosnia's tattered economic and social fabric. The world has seen age-old enmities soften before.

Will the final tally of votes put any significant opposition (i.e., moderate) voices into the national or regional legislative bodies? Such diversity of view could be a flicker of real democracy that might grow.

What about the unfinished business of the international war crimes tribunal? The election didn't erase the need to bring to justice those responsible for atrocities. Peace and reconciliation may be elusive without this.

The elections have made it clearer than ever how far Bosnia still has to climb out of the pit of hatred, fear, and division - and clearer than ever that sustained international help will be crucial.

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