More than 10,000 people rallied in the city of Banja Luka, the administrative center of the Serb-dominated Republika Srpska, on Sunday in protest against so-called election fraud in the entity’s recent presidential election.
The Party of Democratic Progress (PDP), the Serbian Democratic Party, (SDS), and the List for Justice and Order are calling for a recount of the votes for president.
Jelena Trivic, vice-president of the Party of Democratic Progress (PDP) and the joint candidate for the opposition, claimed victory on October 2. Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency, also claimed to have won the election.
As part of last weekend’s demonstration, crowds chanted “Mile thief!” The chant refers to Dodik by his nickname.
According to Bosnia’s Central Electoral Commission, Dodik secured some 48 per cent of the votes. Trailing by about 30,000 votes, Trivic secured 44 percent of the vote.
Numerous irregularities with the vote, however, have led the opposition to claim that the election was rigged. Citing these reports of irregularities, central election authorities have ordered the unsealing of ballot boxes, as well as a recount at some 1,000 polling stations.
“We are asking the CEC of Bosnia and Herzegovina to recount the votes at all polling stations in Republika Srpska,” Trivic said at Sunday’s rally. Trivic also called for an immediate judicial investigation.
Nebojsa Vukanovic, a lawmaker in the National Assembly of Republika Srpska, was also at the rally. He said that the opposition was going to organize a protest march in Sarajevo during the week.
Dodik has denied the election fraud allegations. Dodik has been the most powerful politician in Republika Srpska for years, and maintains close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The US and UK have sanctioned Dodik for allegedly working to undermine peace and stability in Bosnia.
Bosnia has been governed by the Dayton peace accords since 1995, which ended three years of war in the country. The accords establish a pattern of governance and administration in the country that is divided along ethnic lines, including a tri-party presidency under which Muslim Bosniaks, ethnic Croatians, and ethnic Serbs each have a representative.
More than one week after the presidential election on October 2, the CEC has yet to publish the final results of the vote.
“It wasn’t me who was robbed, it was the people. We will not back down, we won’t stop,” Trivic said at the rally over the weekend.
Image via Wikimedia