Bosnia Votes for Parliament, President amid Rising Tensions

Southeast Europe | October 12, 2014, Sunday // 11:34|  views

Photo by BGNES

Voters in Bosnia-Herzegovina are heading to the polls on Sunday in a period of growing social tensions, ethnic disputes and corruption thwarting any EU accession effort.

Nearly 3.3 million are eligible to vote as the country has to elect the three-member Presidency (consisting of a Croat, Muslim and Serb representatives) and the lawmakers to form a new national legislature.

In Republika Srpska, one of the country's two basic entities, citizens also have to cast a ballot to choose their President and Vice President.

Both the Republika Srpska (Serb-populated) and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (a Muslim-Croat federation) have to elect their own regional Parliaments on Sunday as well.

As many as 65 political parties, 24 coalitions and 24 independent candidates are running to take over the leading positions in the country populated by 3.87 million people, with people in party lists numbering 7748, according to local media outlets.

The former Yugoslav republic was rocked by anti-government protests earlier this year, with thousands of disgruntled citizens venting their anger at the cabinet's failure to fight corruption and to pursue political and economic reform.

Members of the two entities, but representatives of the three ethnic groups composing the country as well, are unanimous that changes are needed to amend the constitution created for Bosnia with the Dayton peace agreement after the terrible war it went through in the 1990s.

However, no consensus has been reached on the essence of the most urgent reforms. Autonomy is mostly the single demand Croats have voiced so far, Muslims have pledged unity and Serbs have insisted that the country should be dissolved.  

Floods that hit Southeast Europe in the summer of 2014 did not leave the country unaffected, with total damages estimated at EUR 2 B, or about 15% of GDP.

Forty-four percent of Bosnia's active population are unemployed.

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Tags: Bosnia-Herzegovina, general elections, Republika Srpska, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sebs, Croats, muslims, EU, protests, Dayton Peace Agreement


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