Opposition calls for recount of votes in Bosnia and Herzegovina
On October 2, general elections took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Despite the fact leading ethnic parties were sure about their electoral success before the elections, the polls have proved that their position is decreasing and they are losing popularity.
After the count of all the votes Denis Becirević, a candidate of the Bosniak opposition parties, defeated the SDA candidate Bakir Izetbegović. Becirević received 57,29% of votes, while Izetbegović only 37,48%.
In the Serbian electorate, Željka Cvijanović, from the leading Bosnian Serb party, the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), has defeated (52,57% of votes) Bosnian Serb opposition leader Mirko Šarović (36,04%) and has become the next president of Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity, Republika Srpska, a representative in the Trio Presidency.
Also, Željko Komsić, from the Democratic Front, who got 54,59% of votes, defeated Borjana Krišto (45,41%) from the Croat Democratic Union, HDZ, in the race for the Croat presidency post.
Interestingly, SNSD boss Milorad Dodik defeated the opposition candidate Jelena Trivić from the Party of Democratic Progress, PDP. According to the results, Milorad Dodik from the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) won about 281,000 votes, while Trivić got around 252,000 – around 30,000 fewer.
However, Jelena Trivić and her political party have accused Dodik of electoral fraud, calling for a recount of votes. Trivić has claimed that a slow process of counting votes, combined with electoral fraud claims, raises questions about the fairness of elections. In particular, the Party of Democratic Progress (PDP), the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS), and the List for Justice and Order are demanding a recount of the votes for president due to the reports of election irregularities. As a reaction to the alleged electoral fraud, On October 9, thousands of supporters of the opposition in Republika Srpska marched in the streets to protest the results of a recent presidential election, alleging fraud and demanding a recount.
In addition to elections‘ integrity doubts, the controversy was sparked by the head of the Office of the High Representative, Christian Schmidt. An hour after the polling stations were closed, Schmidt imposed changes to the election laws. In particular, „the changes to the Federation entity constitution include increasing the size of the Federation’s House of Peoples chamber from 58 to 80 and increasing the caucuses of each of the three main ethnic groups – Bosniak, Croat and Serb – from 17 to 23“. According to his decision, the new entity-level House of Peoples will now comprise 23 Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats each, along with 11 Others. Moreover, the increase in seats allows „Others“ to select a representative from each canton, which was not the case earlier.