BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA: BiH Holds General Elections
03.10.2006 Bosnia and Herzegovina | Politics
Two incumbents in Bosnia and Herzegovina's tripartite presidency appear to have lost their seats, and a third is in a neck-and-neck race to the finish.
Preliminary results from Sunday's (October 1st) general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) show Haris Silajdzic, founder of the moderate Party for BiH, as the frontrunner for the Bosniak seat in the country's tripartite presidency. The Bosnian Serb seat appears to have been won by Nebojsa Radmanovic, a member of Republika Srpska (RS) Prime Minister Milorad Dodik's Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD).
The race for the Bosnian Croat seat remained to close too call as of Monday, and it was not clear if the community's current representative will be able to retain his post.
Silajdzic, who was BiH foreign minister during the 1992-1995 conflict and later served as prime minister, won 38% of the vote for the Bosniak seat. The incumbent, Sulejman Tihic, was second with 18%
"I will do everything I can to enable Bosnian citizens to live a better life," the AP quoted Silajdzic, considered a strong proponent of a united BiH, as saying. Describing the results of the vote as an important step towards full democracy, he stressed the need for all politicians in the country to "work together to make Bosnia a better place".
Radmanovic, meanwhile, has won an estimated 56% of the vote for the Bosnian Serb seat, and will replace incumbent Borislav Paravac of the Serb Democratic Party.
Iro Miro Jovic, the incumbent in the Bosnian Croat seat, is in a neck-and-neck race with Zeljko Komsic of the multiethnic party of the Social Democrats. As of Monday morning, Jovic held a razor-thin edge: 11.83% to 11.41%.
Turnout is expected to be higher than in the 2002 elections, Election Commission Chairman Branko Petric said. However, it will still likely fall below 55%. According to preliminary returns from 126 municipalities, which were sent to the commission within two hours of most of the 4,300 polling stations closing, the highest turnout of 83% was registered in the town of Kresevo in central BiH.
The number of eligible voters in BiH currently stands at 2.7 million, up from 2.3 million in 2002.
In addition to the presidential vote, Bosnians were also electing members of parliament. Given BiH's complex political set-up, in RS elections also were held for the entity's president and two vice presidents, as well as for members of its parliament.
Voters in the Muslim-Croat Federation of BiH cast ballots for that entity's parliament and ten cantonal assemblies.
Sunday's elections took place only months before the planned closure of the Office of the High Representative in June 2007, with BiH politicians then expected to take full responsibility for the country's future and progress towards European integration.
High Representative Christian Schwarz-Schilling, who would remain in BiH as the EU special representative, would have significantly reduced powers.