Bosniak, Serb nationalist parties set to win elections in Bosnia
Bosniak and Bosnian Serb nationalist parties are in the lead for seats in the state-level parliament after the parliamentary and presidential elections held in Bosnia and Herzegovina “amid the worst political crisis” since the end of the war.
Bosniak nationalist conservative Party of Democratic Action (SDA) has won 24.87% of the votes for members of the national House of Representatives, while in the Serb Republic, the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) of Bosnian Serb nationalist leader Milorad Dodik led with 42.44% of the vote, according to preliminary results published on the website of the electoral commission.
The country will elect three members of the Presidency and members of the parliament for the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Bosnian Parliament.
In the Bosniak section of the elections, Bakir Izetbegovic, son of former Bosnian president Alija Izetbegovic and the leader of the SDA, was in a race with Denis Becirovic of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
In the Republika Srpska presidential elections, pro-Russian Milorad Dodik created controversy with his pro-Putin statements during the campaign. He said that he respects the Russian annexation referenda in Ukraine. "It suits me to legalize the referendum as a way of deciding the status of the Republika Srpska, and I have been saying this for years,” said Dodik.
Dodik was also personally endorsed by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in a speech. “Hungary and Serbia are neighbors but Hungary considers Republika Srpska its honorable neighbor,” Orban said. In December, Orban said that Hungary will block the EU decisions if they aim to sanction Dodik for his separatist plans.
Dodik is also supported by the Croatian nationalist HDZ. They claim that the current electoral system heavily favors Bosniaks over Croats in Bosnia. Dragan Covic, the leader of the HDZ has, for example, complained that the current representative of the Croats, Zeljko Komsic, was elected primarily by Bosniak citizens. Covic says that this means that Komsic does not represent Bosnian Croats.
The Bosnian Electoral System
The Bosnian War between 1992 and 1995 ended with the Dayton Agreement. The peace deal divided the country into two entities: Republika Srpska, with a Serb majority population, and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, shared by Bosniaks and Croats.
The electoral system involves electing 3 presidents, one for each ethnic group, which are the Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims), Croats, and Serbs. The 3,3 million population also elects 4 parliaments and representatives from 10 cantons. There are a total of 7,257 candidates for 518 political positions on the 150-page long list.