The Odyssey for Democracy: Embracing the Vision of Hope and Change in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Mirsad Hadžkadić never planned for a life in politics. Yet, in 2018, he decided to run for the Bosniak presidential council seat in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mirsad made the life-changing decision to run, despite the fact that he had a successful, thirty-year career as a professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and very little experience in politics outside of academia. However, a conversation with a dear friend from Sarajevo planted the idea in his mind. Samir Avdaković suggested that he run for office because “there may never be another election in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the country as we know it will probably disintegrate.” The words rumbled within Mirsad’s mind for the next several months, and he thought to himself, “if what Samir says is so, who am I, because of the comforts I have, to decide not to even try?”
After announcing his intentions on national TV in January of 2018, Mirsad began this journey in earnest in May of 2018 by building a campaign from the ground up with the hope of instilling a vision of hope and change and shifting the country’s political discourse. However, he soon learned that the odds were stacked against him. He only had five months and limited funds to prove to the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina that he deserved their votes. And so, he took his meager funds, limited time, and infinite passion to do just that. He toured the country, meeting and talking with citizens, to share his vision of hope and change.
Though Mirsad was not victorious on October 7th, his results were deemed historic and unprecedented. A relatively unknown, underfunded independent candidate managed to receive 60,000 votes or ten percent of the total votes cast. And, despite the defeat, Mirsad succeeded in spearheading a democratic movement, resulting in the formation of the Platform for Progress political organization in November of 2018 and the official dawning of The Odyssey for Democracy.