Moderate Bosnian candidate leads race for presidential seat

  • Bosnia to vote amid political crisis
  • Moderate Bosnian leader poised to win presidential seat
  • International Peace Observer imposes changes to election law

SARAJEVO (Reuters) – Preliminary results showed on Monday that moderate Bosnian candidate Denis Beserevich was leading his candidacy for the country’s tripartite presidency.

Becerevic, a member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) who was supported by 11 civilian-oriented opposition parties, received 55.78% of the vote over Bakir Izetbegovic, in which the nationalist Bosnian (Bosnian Muslim) Democratic Action Party (SDA) participated. power since the end of the war in 1996.

Izetbegovic, who received 39.31% of the vote according to the electoral commission, conceded defeat late on Sunday night.

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Bosnia’s voters came out to choose the country’s new collective presidency and legislators at the national, regional and local levels, in a competition between established nationalists and economics-focused reformers.

Bosnia is going through its worst political crisis since the end of its war in the 1990s, spurred by the separatist policies of the Serb leadership and threats of blockade by Bosnian Croats.

“It is time for a positive transformation in Bosnia,” Becirovic told reporters after the victory was declared.

Election authorities said early on Monday that Borjana Kristo of the nationalist Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) received 51.36% of the vote for the Croatian presidential member while moderate Zeljko Komsic came in second with 48.64% of the vote based on 54.73% of the votes counted.

On Sunday, Komcic declared victory after the SDA’s preliminary results put him ahead of Christo with 70.73% of the vote, based on 80% of the vote counted.

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Zelica Svijanovic, an ally of the pro-Russian separatist Bosnian Serb leader, Milorad Dodik, won 51.65% of the votes counted in the race to elect the Serbs to the Bosnian presidency.

The commission said it would continue to update preliminary results daily from Monday.

Bosnia consists of two autonomous regions: the Serb-dominated Republika Srpska and the Federation shared by Bosniaks, or Bosnian Muslims, and Croats, linked by a weak central government. The Federation is divided into 10 cantons. There is also the Brcko Neutral Zone in the north.

The race for president of Bosnia’s Serb Autonomous Republic between Dodik and economics professor Jelena Trevik from the opposition still looks inconclusive, judging by the results of the competing parties.

The declaration of Komcic’s victory was heavily criticized by Croatian political parties, who complain that the majority of Bosniaks elect a member of their presidency. They threatened to block the formation of a regional government if Komcic won.

But just an hour after the polls closed, the International Peace Monitor for Bosnia imposed changes to the election law, imposing deregulation mechanisms and strict deadlines to protect the union’s work.

The electoral commission said the turnout by 7 pm (1700 GMT) was 50 percent.

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Additional reporting by Reuters TV and Ivana Sikolarak. Editing by Jan Harvey, Alexander Smith, Nick McPhee, Diane Kraft, and Sam Holmes

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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