The October 1st elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina provided an opportunity for several NGOs to promote greater activism among citizens.
The most prominent of these was the Civic Organisation for Democracy (GROZD). Established by the Centre for Promotion of Civil Society, in co-operation with NGOs and citizens’ groups from all over the country, it seeks to strengthen civic activities and the non-governmental sector, and to mobilise people to hold politicians accountable for addressing real-life concerns.
“With a pre-electoral joint platform signed by 500,000 citizens of BiH, we pressed political candidates to focus more on ordinary people’s needs, rather than personal fights among candidates,” said GROZD spokesperson Sevko Bajic.
The platform — also signed by majority of political parties — calls on politicians seeking public office to undertake the following:
- create 150,000 new jobs in BiH;
- eradicate extreme poverty in the country;
- ensure a minimal pension of no less than 125 euros;
- ensure access to basic health and social protection for every BiH citizen;
- make BiH a country of equal opportunity for all young people;
- reduce costs of administration;
- complete educational reform;
- reduce the level of corruption in BiH;
- make BiH a state that fulfils conditions for EU-membership;
- make public companies more efficient in providing services;
- double foreign investments in BiH.
“The [platform] is supported by more than 400 NGOs, trade unions, pensioners, farmers, women’s and youth organisations and other groups,” Bajic said. “This is a firm cry from BiH citizens wanting a better life. We insist that these requests must be a priority for the political parties that won the elections.”
Asim Spahic from the Dosta! citizen’s movement — famous for their demonstrations in Sarajevo every weekend — said co-operation with GROZD is a good way to strengthen the civic sector. “What is most important right now is to retain the tempo of civic activities beyond the recent elections in order to ultimately build a stable and active civic movement,” Spahic said.
According to Bajic, GROZD will continue its activities by monitoring political topics at all levels and following their platform. GROZD’s analysis of BiH’s social and political life will be published at the organisation’s website,