Serb nationalist vows to shatter Bosnia
Bosnian-Serb nationalist Milorad Dodik has won the election for his community’s seat on Bosnia-Herzegovina’s three-member presidency.
Dodik, who has close ties to Russia, urged the Bosnian Serbs to secede, saying the Bosnian state had failed.
The main Bosniak party said its candidate, Sefik Dzaferovic, would represent Muslims in the presidency and ethnic-Croat voters returned Zelijko Komsic.
Bosnia is split into the Serb-dominated Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation of Bosniaks and Croats.
The three-member collective presidency was established as part of the US-brokered Dayton peace deal that ended the Bosnian war in 1995 after 100,000 had died.
The two governments are linked by joint institutions, including a tripartite presidency.
Voters on October 7 were also choosing parliamentarians and 10 canton assemblies in the complex political system.
They had to elect a total of five presidents and 14 prime ministers.
A total of 518 positions were up for election, including 42 for the state parliament, 98 in the federation’s assembly, 83 on Republika Srpska assembly and three vice presidents.
Turnout was reported at 53.3 per cent of the 3.3 million electorate.
The Bosnian election commission said Dodik, who has led Republika Srpska since 2006 as leader of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, had over 55-per-cent support compared with the more moderate incumbent, Mladen Ivanic, on 42 per cent.
Russian-backed Dodik, who wants to break all ties with the rest of Bosnia, told the media in Banja Luka (pictured), the administrative centre of the Serb enclave, that his “first priority will be the position of the Serb people and of Republika Srspka. I believe that Bosnia-Herzegovina also may progress if everyone is respected.”
“It’s a clear-cut victory,” Dodik added. “I don’t care who the other two representatives in the presidency are. I am going there, to this presidency, to work above all and only for the interests of Serbs.”
Election day was marked by allegations of fraud with claims that dead voters remained on the register as well as questions about the imbalance between the number of valid ID cards and registered voters, including expatriates.
There is currently no legal basis for the election of a new House of Peoples in the federation, which means that no new governments can be fully formed or at state level.
Banja Luka. Picture credit: Wikimedia