(E) Published letter in Transitions on Line by Brian Gallagher
27 May 2002
I was disconcerted to read the article on Bosnia-Herzegovina "Bosnia’s Future in the Balance," authored by members of the--presumably ironically named--Democratization Policy Institute. The authors state that electoral rules should somehow be amended to force “nationalist” parties to reach out beyond their usual groups.
Whatever one thinks of such parties, such blatant electoral engineering is far from democratic. Do the authors recommend such a course of action for, let us say, Northern Ireland? Or do their recommendations only apply to people they feel can more easily be pushed about?
The peoples of Bosnia-Herzegovina have a right to vote for who they like, just like all Europeans. Their choices should not be diminished by bizarre attempts at social engineering, which can only produce conflict. Politics must be allowed to develop naturally.
Paddy Ashdown is renowned in the UK for his democratic sensibilities. I hope he treat the ideas from the authors of this article with the contempt they deserve.