Monday, October 04, 2010

Election Day

In Bosnia, election campaigns last for exactly one month before the election is held. We arrived the week the campaign started. “Our elections,” one Bosnian warned us, “are not very polite.”

They have been passionate anyway! The streets are filled with leafleteers. Poles are wrapped with campaign slogans (here for the Liberalno Demokratska Stranka).

Every bare wall is covered with campaign posters, and soon after they go up, those posters are defaced.

The SBB party has billboard-sized posters in the town center, each featuring an enormous photo of their presidential candidate. On every billboard (except for the one where someone has written “Kriminalac"), someone has scrawled across his face “Lopov,” which means “thief” or “rascal”.

Today was the election. A low turnout was expected, but when we took a walk, the street was lively with people, all heading for the school, where a police officer stood watch.

The Bosnian word for “vote” is “glasati.” “Glas” means sound, so you might think of “voting” as “sounding” or “voicing.” Votes in any country are imperfect and in any country wildly inappropriate people sometimes get elected, but I feel passionate about the innate goodness of letting people’s voices be heard. As David pointed out to me, Tito may have done a lot of good things for Yugoslavia, but letting people voice their preference of regime was not one of them. Whatever the outcome of today’s election, I’m going to remember that shiver of excitement I felt as I watched people heading to the school to vote.

We're keeping an eye on the results here.

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