Bosnia Izbori 2010
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.
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.
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