Monday, 26 January 2009

boring but important

There's a magazine in the UK, The Week, which is a neat summary of all the news, comments, editorials etc. in the UK press. One of their sections is called 'Boring, but Important' and I feel that accurately sums up the gist of this post.

Regular readers (hello Mum!) will know that I try to steer clear of the Bosnian political situation, but occasionally there is an important development that I feel I should point out. On Friday the international community's representative in Bosnia, The High Representative, resigned - leaving his job to become foreign minister in Slovakia.

The High Representative is probably the most powerful person in Bosnia (Brits may remember that Paddy Ashdown held the post for a couple of years a few years back). Unelected, he has the power to force the Bosnian politicians to do all sorts of things that they can't normally agree upon. Opinion is divided on whether having a High Representative is a good thing. Certainly, the office has been able to push through a number of laws that have been unpalatable to the nationalist politicians that dominate the political scene here. Others think that this permits the politicians to hide behind OHR; they have not needed to learn how to take difficult, potentially unpopular decisions.

OHR mandate was due to end in 2009, but many believe the current political stalemate (see Nov 16th post and Economist article here for more details) in Bosnia will mean it will have to be extended. It will be difficult to find anyone to take the job without knowing what their mandate will be. It looks as if the political impasse is unlikely to finish soon.

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