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NEWS 02 Oct 16

Big Parties Claim Victory in Bosnia local Elections

Ahead of the release of the results, the two main parties representing Serbs and Bosniaks claimed major victories in the entities their communities dominate.

Eleanor Rose
BIRN
Sarajevo
Elections in Bosnia. Photo by Beta

Ahead of the announcement of the results in Bosnia's municipal elections on Sunday, the two main parties representing Bosniaks and Serbs claimed big victories.

Milorad Dodik, President of the Serb-dominated entity, Republika Srpska, and leader of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, SNSD, claimed that his party had triumphed in Republika Srpska, calling the as-yet unconfirmed results “a big, magnificent victory”. 

"The map of Republika Srpska has dramatically turned red," he said, alluding on the colour of his party.

“The SNSD is the winner. We are off to celebrate, all those who want to join us are welcome,” Dodik said of his party’s alleged gains on Sunday evening.

In another potentially momentous development, a Serbian candidate claimed he had won the race to become mayor of Srebrenica, the town in eastern Bosnia where Bosnian Serb forces massacred thousands of Bosniaks in 1995 and which since then has continued to have a Bosniak-led local authority.

Mladen Grujičić was said to have won the election in Srebrenica against the incumbent Bosniak [Muslim] mayor, Camil Durakovic. If confirmed, the result would be seen as a serious blow to survivors of the 1995 massacre, which court verdicts have classified as an act of genocide.

In the mainly Bosniak and Croat Federation entity, the main Bosniak party, the Party of Democratic Action, SDA, looks like being the big winner.

It declared victory in eight of the nine municipalities in Sarajevo canton. 

The turnout for today’s poll was 53.88 per cent, according to the Central Election Commission, with 1,723,140 voters casting their ballots.

The Federation entity saw a turnout of 50.61 per cent while the figure in Republika Srpska was 59.49 per cent. In the District of Brcko, 49.15 percent of the electorate came out to vote.

The day was marked by serious controversy as polling stations in the southwestern municipality of Stolac were closed.

The Central Election Commission said it would not make a full statement on the irregularities in Stolac until it had gathered more information, but thre coalition of NGOs Pod Lupom reported violent incidents in the town. 

Several members of the Municipal Election Commission were reportedly injured in a fracas after disputes broke out about electoral procedure. Pod Lupom condemned the violence. 

It noted other irregularities, including pressure on voters to vote in a particular way and people voting using IDs belonging to other people.

By 4.30pm, the watchdog organisation had registered 93 "critical situations", including threats made against their own electoral monitors. It raised 49 objections with the Central Election Commission.

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