Archive for October, 2010

Five Months Until the New Government?

The recent general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina took place on October 3, 2010, but the process of forming a new government is far from finished.  Reports from the Central Election Commission show that the number of invalid ballots for the election of members of the state presidency, and also other levels of government remains high. These reports show that more than 100,000 ballots were invalid for members of the Presidency alone, which is 100 percent more than all previous elections thus far. The Party of Democratic Progress (PDP) has requested a thorough investigation due to the high number of invalid votes for the Bosnian Serb President, and in response to the marginal win of SNSD Nebojsa Radmanovic over Mladen Ivanic of the PDP.

 

The Central Election Commission began a recount of votes in several polling stations on October 15, 2010, in the presence of election observers.  It is necessary for 38 polling stations to recount the ballots for all levels of government and 19 polling stations must count the ballots only for certain levels of government. Then the Central Election Commission is currently trying to determine the results, which means consolidating the numbers from ordinary polling stations, polling places where voters voted absentee,  electors who voted by mail, etc.

 

The formation of a new government after general elections in BiH has been a lengthy and difficult process in the past.  Aside from the setback of the invalid ballots, it may now take weeks or even months to form new governments at the state level, in the Federation of BiH and in the Republika Srpska. It remains to be seen how much time it will take the 2010 election winners to agree on power sharing and whether or how a coalition will be established.  Judging from the past, High Representative Valentin Inzko voiced doubt that a national coalition would be formed before February 2011.

 

Image from Radio Free Europe

 

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Bosnia Izbori 2010

Election Posters (Getty Images on SEtimes.com)

Sarajevo is plastered with leftover election (izbori) campaign posters, with the faces of candidates covering every billboard, car window, and wall in the city during the last month.  Yesterday around 1.5 million people, or 56% of the eligible voters in BiH (not including diaspora) cast their ballots.  Voters elected the central presidency, the central parliament and assemblies for the two entities. In the Serb-run entity, Republika Srpska, they also voted for a president, while in the another entity, the Muslim-Croat Federation voters chose district assemblies.  This is no easy feat in a country with three presidents representing Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats.  Over 8,000 people ran for seats in parliament, representing over 60 political parties.

The preliminary results show that moderate Bakir Izetbegovic, son of former President Alija Izetbegovic, won the Bosniak presidency seat representing the Party of Democratic Action (SDA).   His father is known for being the first president of BiH and wartime leader.  Bakir Izetbegovic talks about a new era for Bosnia, and claims to be more prepared to work with other ethnic groups than his predecessor Haris Silajdzic.   He, along with the current Croat member of the presidency Zeljko Komsic who won another four year term, both ran on campaigns that support a unified Bosnia.

Izetbegovic Casts his Vote Yesterday

The Serbs had a tighter race, with Nebojsa Radmanovic (current Serb representative of the tripartite presidency) only 3% ahead of the next candidate, Mladen Ivanic.  Thirteen percent of the votes for the Serb presidency were considered invalid, and the Serbs are demanding an investigation into election fraud.  Radmanovic advocates for the separation of the Serb entity from the rest of the country.

Most of the politicians in BiH ran on campaigns that appealed to their own ethnic group.  The electoral committee will continue to count votes and to determine the leaders of Bosnia, announcing the official results in a few days.  The international community carefully watches the elections, as Bosnia strives for a future in the EU and in NATO.  Hopefully the winners can bring about positive change in this divided country.

Sources:

euronews Izetbegovic’s Son Wins Bosnian Presidential Seat

NPR Preliminary Results Show Bosnians Divided on Vote

Euractiv History invites itself to Bosnia elections

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