An integral and democratic Bosnia and Herzegovina - that is what the Presidency candidate from the main Bosniak party in the country, the Party for Democratic Action (SDA), Sefik Dzaferovic, told N1 he will fight for if elected.
Dzaferovic was chosen as SDA’s candidate for Bosniak member of the country’s tripartite Presidency, to follow the footsteps of current Presidency chairman and SDA party leader Bakir Izetbegovic, who cannot run for the position anymore as he already served two mandates.
Dzaferovic is considered one of the most loyal SDA party members and was close to Izetbegovic’s father and Bosnia’s first President after the country split from former Yugoslavia, Alija Izetbegovic.
“I love the SDA, I love the idea late President Alija Izetbegovic supported – an integral Bosnia and Herzegovina and the fight for democracy,” Dzaferovic said, adding that Alija Izetbegovic invited him to join the party and that he will “never avoid any opportunities that lead toward the realization of this idea.”
He said he “did not ask for this position”, but that he is certain he will be elected Presidency member at the October 7 general election.
“It is a serious thing, to represent a country, and it should be a message to all those entering this institution. I don’t like populism, I like actions which I can back up with facts. It is probably because I am a legal expert,” he said.
Dzaferovic was elected as SDA’s candidate in a secret vote at the SDA convention on Saturday and received only 17 votes more than SDA vice-President Safet Softic. The current Prime Minister, Denis Zvizdic, and Bakir Izetbegovic’s wife, Sebija Izetbegovic, rejected their candidacies the week before.
Zvizdic, who Dzaferovic said had initially received the most nominations, was considered a favorite choice of the party before he withdrew from the race.
“I am sorry Zvizdic dropped out, he is a successful Prime Minister and a good person. What would have happened if he would have not done so? He would have probably been in my place now,” Dzaferovic said.
Zvizdic had earlier warned about ‘splits’ within the party.
“This political party always had at least two serious candidates. The golden rule of a democracy is that there are multiple opinions,” Dzaferovic said regarding Zvizdic’s earlier statements.
Dzaferovic is considered to be a modest politician. He lives in a two bedroom apartment with his family and has no bodyguards.
“I didn’t want bodyguards, I walk the city alone. If I am elected to the Presidency, I will have bodyguards if necessary,” he said.
Izetbegovic recently announced that Bosnia will by 2026 be a member of the EU and NATO.
“Of course, the precondition is stability. Izetbegovic has two successful mandates behind him in the Bosnian Presidency. He is someone who stabilizes the situation in the region. He did his job excellently and I will strive toward working like that.”
The candidate also spoke about the role of the international community in Bosnia.
“The international community has to improve its attitude toward the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, they can’t leave us with such a constitution. They have to help the country function according to the Dayton Peace Treaty or create a system in which there is no need for them,” Dzaferovic said.
“They are slowly pulling out and leaving Bosnia with a disorderly constitutional and justice system,” he added.