Analysis 29 Nov 16

Ethnic Battle Turns Toxic Over Southern Bosnian Town

The bitter struggle between Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats to control the southern town of Stolac holds echoes of the worsening relations between the two communities and their leaders in the country at large.

Elvis Kusljugic, Srecko Latal
BIRN
Stolac, Sarajevo
The Initiative for Stolac pressed charges of election fraud before the regional prosecutor against a group of local election and government officials in Stolac on November 24. Photo: Anadolu

The main Bosniak party in Bosnia, the Party of Democratic Action, SDA, and a local mainly Bosniak coalition, the Initiative for Stolac, at the end of last week launched separate legal actions against Bosnian Croat politicians and local and state election officials, raising the stakes in the battle for control over the southern town of Stolac.

The move came after the Central Election Commission, CIK, on November 24, after weeks of negotiations, announced it was removing three out of four candidates for the post of the mayor, a number of candidates for the town council, as well as dismissing one Croat and two Bosniak members of the Stolac election commission.

The sanctions were passed for gross violations made in the organization of the October 2 local elections in Stolac, which led to a series of incidents and eventually the suspension of the election in the town.

The Election Commission said that after its decision became effective, at the end of the appeal period, it would make a decision on whether, how and when to organize new elections in Stolac.

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