Bosnia Votes, But Minds Seem Set
SCOTT SIMON, Host:
NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports from Sarajevo.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SYLVIA POGGIOLI: Ahmed Alibasic of Sarajevo's Faculty of Islamic Studies says fear keeps the nationalists in power.
AHMED ALIBASIC: We have people who are fear- mongers, who go around and frighten people. You know, if you don't support this or that, then you are going - you are risking your identity. And the fear factor has not been removed from our political equations yet.
POGGIOLI: International officials in Bosnia are pinning their hopes on some 80,000 young new voters with no memory of war.
(SOUNDBITE OF CHATTER)
POGGIOLI: But 20-year-old Admira Sitnic say many of her friends are disaffected and weary.
ADMIRA SITNIC: Many young people think that the situation is so terrible so they don't want to vote. And you have to convince them to do that.
POGGIOLI: Mara Radivoijsa studies English literature at the local university.
MARA RADIVOIJSA: Bosnia is our enemy because they are Muslim's creation people and we are Serbs. They don't like us. And we don't like them.
POGGIOLI: Igor Radojicic, speaker of the Bosnian-Serb parliament, is slightly more diplomatic. He says it's time to reduce sharply the international community's political role in Bosnia.
IGOR RADOJICIC: Especially in Republika Srpska, there is a total rejection of farther(ph) presence of the international community to impose smaller reforms, laws, legislation, decisions - it's over.
POGGIOLI: But even in the Bosnian Serb republic, a more moderate voice has emerged. Economics professor and opposition candidate Mladen Ivanic says the country can function only through political compromise. Dayton is a fact of life, he says, and Bosnian Serbs have to accept a unified Bosnia.
MLADEN IVANIC: I expect to same from my Bosnian colleagues. Bosnia is there, but they have to accept the fact that Republika Srpska is there. And once we did that, I think we would immediately have a much better condition for these small steps. Without that, it will be always conflict, conflict, conflict; it's only conflict.
POGGIOLI: Sylvia Poggioli, NPR News, Sarajevo.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.