Post electoral disputes harm stability in BiH

Post electoral disputes harm stability in BiH

Sarajevo, October 10, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Mladen Dragojlovic

The local elections in BiH are over but the final results are not published yet because of problems on several locations in the state where parties cannot agree who won the biggest number of votes.

Happenings in city of Stolac, where candidate for mayor, Samir Kaplan, hit the member of Local Election Commision so hard that he was transferred to intensive care, the dispute about the number of votes in Srebrenica and doubts about the results for the mayor of Bijeljina harm the stability, not just between the various nations, but also between Serb ruling and opposition coalitions.

The Central Election Commission (CEC) have the hard task to calm the situation in the state but, at the moment it seems “mission impossible”. Stolac’s fight, which caused the break of elections in this municipality and raised the police special forces, is still without solution because CEC didn’t reach a consensus on the new date for elections. Right after this case, president of Croat Democratic Union and member of BiH Presidency, Dragan Covic, said that it is very bad that this happened in “Croat area”.

The angry response came very fast from his colleague in Presidency and president of Bosniak Party of Democratic Action (SDA), Bakir Izetbegovic, who said that there is no such thing in BiH as an area of a particular nation. The dispute is so large that high Croatian officials came in Stolac as support to Croats who live there. Their arrival however, was outside of the usual diplomatic protocol since they didn’t announce the visit to BiH Ministry of foreign affairs. This also made Bosniak officials angry and didn’t help in this situation at all.

Bosniaks are also angry because of the post election situation in Srebrenica, which is in RS but since the war the Mayor was not Serb but Bosniak. This is the place where Serbs during war committed genocide and where is the biggest burial place of Bosniak victims, in Potocari. The results of recent elections show that the winner is Serb candidate, Mladen Grujicic, and that his opponent, Camil Durakovic, lost the office. The difference between the two candidates is so small that CEC ordered a new counting in Sarajevo which begun on Monday afternoon. Before it, Grujicic reported that several independent observers received “obvious and direct threats” in case that they say that Durakovic is not the winner. Additional Serb anger was fueled by Izetbegovic’s statement that “the appointment of a Serb for Srebrenica Mayor is not an option at all”.

Bijeljina is a special case, since the two candidates, Mico Micic and Zlatko Maksimovic, are Serbs but from different political backgrounds. Micic is the candidate of opposition coalition Alliance for changes, and Maksimovic is candidate of ruling coalition SNSD-SP-DNS coalition. Micic was the Mayor in Bijeljina in the last four years and made big changes in city administration. The difference is less than 500 votes and both candidates are accusing other for electoral fraud.

At this moment all the eyes are on the CEC and citizens expect a solutions that will bring stability back in the country.