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The new mayor of Srebrenica, Camil Durakovic, has requested a meeting with leaders of two Bosniak parties after they put forward a Serb-led coalition to lead the town.
Durakovic sent a request to Zlatko Lagumdzija and Fahrudin Radoncic, leaders of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, and Alliance for a Better Future, SBB, respectively, to discuss their parties' move to form a coalition with Serb parties.
“I don't support that coalition because that is not the power which stood behind me during the campain,” Durakovic said.
“The coalition which SDP and SBB agreed with [the Serb parties] SDS and SNSD will have a Serb majority which would have the power to run political life in the city again.”
He said that SDP and SBB were among four Bosniak parties which supported him as an independent Bosniak candidate for the mayor and now they are looking to form a coalition without the other two parties.
SDP and SBB are coalition partners in the state-level government and in the Federation entity parliament.
“I call on them [Bosniak parties] to remain united in Srebrenica despite everything,” Durakovic said, adding that he cannot accept a coalition which would have a Serb majority.
He explained that he was opposed to such a coalition because the Serb parties would then be the leading political factor in the town.
Before the 1995 massacre of around 8,000 Bosniaks in Srebrenica by the Bosnian Serb army, about 80 per cent of the 37,000 people in the municipality were Bosniaks.
The percentages today are almost the opposite. Of the 6,000-7,000 people who live in Srebrenica, some 30 per cent are Bosniaks and the rest are Serbs, most estimates say.
The town carries deep signficance for many Muslims as a symbol of their wartime suffering. More than 5,000 victims of the 1995 massacre are buried at the Potocari genocide memorial in the municipality.
Several parties demand changes to the election law, amid fears that Serbs may vote in their own mayor in a town that has come to symbolise Bosniaks' wartime suffering.
Optimism about reform under the new government fades as the new team delays enacting the promised media strategy and takes effective control of the media through the familiar tactics of targeted advertising and hidden ownership.