St. Louis – The U.S. chapter of the “Prvi Mart” coalition was established this past Sunday (February 10, 2013) in St. Louis. During the public meeting at Fontbonne University, the coalition’s goal of registering voters who are refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina but currently reside in the United States is strongly emphasized for the upcoming 2014 election in Bosnia.
The main goal of the coalition according to the Emir Suljagic, the coordinator of who spoke over Skype from Sarajevo, is to change the political status quo in Bosnia. In order for this to happen, it is essential for the “Prvi Mart” coalition to find ways for five designated seats in the Bosnian parliament from the Bosnian entity of “Republika Srpska” to support the “Prvi Mart” coalition’s platform, which emphasizes the cessation of genocide denial.
As we could hear in St. Louis, five seats in the Bosnian parliament from Bosnian entity of “RS” would counteract the “entity voting” practices that were enabled by the Dayton Peace Accords of 1995, which gives power to the delegates from the “RS” entity to block pro-Bosnian legislation which they find not in their best political interest.
The “Prvi Mart” movement was a result of similar activities carried out last year in Srebrenica via project “I will vote for Srebrenica,” also led by Suljagic. As a result, 4500 citizens registered to vote in the past October elections, which resulted in the selection of a mayor who supports the platform of the “Prvi Mart” coalition.
Besides Suljagic, Refik Hodzic and Edin Ramulic, who are also from Prijedor, addressed the inaugural meeting as well. Hodzic, who currently lives in New York, where he is the director of communications for the International Center for Transitional Justice, said that “the current political discourse in Bosnia is based on the outcome of the genocide.”
– The policy of continuous denial of the genocide is used as a huge smokescreen for the current political situation that the political elite use to plunder personal wealth. He added that the activity of the coalition “Prvi Mart” stands independent of any political party.
– Activities of the coalition of “Prvi Mart” are directed against the fundamental errors of Bosnian politics: the denial of crimes that have occurred, the inflaming of hatred, especially among the youth, and the blocking mechanisms that motivate people not to work for the common good of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a state, such as mechanisms that are blocking Bosnian accession to the European Union, and NATO. Basically, all of those elements that are blocking the creation of a future filled with hope, underscored Hodzic.
According to the U.S. chapter of the coalition “Prvi Mart”, approximately 59,000 citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the United States already have, based on their Bosnian citizenship, the rightto vote in the upcoming election, while another 10,000 of them, who currently have their passports, could vote very easily.
Given the current estimate that St. Louis alone houses more than 60,000 citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, this American city could play a significant role in the 2014 general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
SOURCE: PRVI MART COALITION
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