European Western Balkans

Opposition parties win major cities in local elections in BiH

Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Photo: Flickr/ Jennifer Boyer

SARAJEVO – Preliminary results of the local elections held yesterday in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), show that two of the three ruling parties – Party of Democratic Action (SDA) and Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), lost control over the largest cities in BiH Sarajevo and Banja Luka, and the party leaders Bakir Izetbegović and Milorad Dodik acknowledged the defeats of their candidates, FoNet reports.

Milorad Dodik said of the defeat in Banja Luka that it was “not a small blow” for him. He announced that the SNSD will not pursue a policy of conflict with the new city government in Banja Luka, which will be headed by the young Draško Stanivuković from the Party of Democratic Progress (PDP), a member of the National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska (RS).

Dodik confirmed that the SNSD lost the elections in Bijeljina, the second largest city in RS. However, he emphasized that the SNSD remains “the strongest party in RS” because it now has power in 41 municipalities, which is one more than before.

The leader of the Party of Democratic Action, Bakir Izetbegović, also admitted that the SDA lost control in the capital of BiH, Sarajevo, estimating that “changes have taken place in the whole of BiH” and that “these are not tectonic, but important changes”. Izetbegović, like Dodik, emphasized that, despite the defeats in certain cities, the SDA remains “the strongest party in the country”.

The third ruling party, the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina has retained mayoral posts in most of the municipalities in which it has been in power so far.

In addition to the new pandemic conditions, the elections were marked by numerous complaints, reports on the vote-buying, disabling the work of observers, as well as citizens’ complaints that they were denied the right to vote due to isolation. Voters abroad also had complaints.

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