Bosnian Local Elections 2016: Live Blog
 
Home Page
 

The Balkans Today

Up to the minute news and updates from the Balkan region

Bosnian Local Elections 2016: Live Blog

Stay tuned for all the latest developments as voters in Bosnia and Herzegovina elect town and city councils across the country’s two entities, the Federation and Republika Srpska, plus an assembly in the Brcko District.

  • Polling stations opened today at 7am for voting to kick off in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s local elections.
     
    The coalition of NGOs Pod Lupom, which is monitoring the elections, announced on its Twitter feed that most polling stations had opened on time.
     
    81 percent were open at 7am, a further 17 percent opened by 7.15am, and almost all others were open before 8am.
     
    Two exceptions were Ilidza municipality, where one polling station opened around 8am, and Stolac, where one was still not open at 9am.
     
    The reason, said Pod Lupom, was that the polling station in Stolac had not received essential materials from the Central Election Commission.
     
    Across the country, about 3.26 million voters are eligible to elect mayors and municipal councilors as well as an assembly in the Brcko District.
     
    A total of 30,445 candidates are running, including: 418 candidates for mayor, 29,884 candidates for municipal councils, city councils and assemblies and the assembly of the District of Brcko. There are also 143 candidates representing national minorities.
     
    There are a total of 5,469 polling stations and 318 mobile teams working across the country, as well as 130 polling stations abroad.
     
    Preparations have been made in accordance with regulations in the majority of polling stations being monitored, according to Pod Lupom.
     
    In 99 percent of cases, the ballots had been manually counted in advance of the polling station opening.
     
    The ballot boxes were shown to be empty before being sealed in 99 percent of cases, too. Polling officials had mostly shown up to the polling stations on time.
     
    Election materials were missing in six percent of cases.
     
    Pod Lupom has 2500 observers covering 2700 polling stations, 142 local election committees and 60 mobile teams.
     
    Turnout at Bosnia's last municipal elections, in 2012, was 56.4 percent.
  • Last night, a brawl took place in the northern town of Prnjavor, according to local media.
     
    Young men had reportedly traveled to Prnjavor from Belgrade, and an eye-witness blogged that the fight broke out after locals asked them to move along.
     
    Minister for Security Dragan Mektic told media he had intervened personally in the town to restore order. He said the men appeared to want to cause unrest during elections day.
  • Google’s homepage for Bosnia, google.ba, featured a new doodle reminding citizens that today is polling day.
     
    The sketch features the flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and characters putting ballots in a ballot box.
     
    Today's Google doodle at google.ba
     
  • Incumbent mayor of the eastern town of Srebrenica turned out to vote this morning, saying he felt confident of keeping his post.
     
    Camil Durakovic, the Bosniak [Muslim] mayor who escaped the 1995 genocide in Srebrenica, has campaigned for unity in the town, which now falls within the mostly Serb-led Republika Srpska entity.
     
    Citizens vote in Srebrenica. Photo: Anadolu
     
  • Citizens in the city of Mostar, which has not held municipal elections since 2008 due to an ongoing dispute over how it should take place, will hold a symbolic "vote" today according to local media.
     
    The unofficial poll was reportedly organised by the city's youth council, and people will be able to attend three mock polling stations to answer a few questions on what they think about life in the city.
  • A woman votes in Banja Luka. Photo: Anadolu
     
  • Chairman of the tripartite presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bakir Izetbegovic, has turned out with his wife to vote in the Sarajevo Centar municipality.
     
    Izetbegovic urged citizens to go out and vote according to their conscience. He said he was optimistic about reforms, the restoration of the economy, and seeing "the light at the end of the tunnel", according to local media.
     
    He added that he would like to see the incumbent Mayor of Srebrenica Camil Durakovic keep his seat.
  • Serb member of Bosnia's tripartite presidency Mladen Ivanic has turned out to vote, telling press he hoped today would be a "pleasant day of democracy". He said the municipal elections were important because they were an indicator ahead of the general elections, and added that he did not believe people were disappointed in all of their politicians.
  • Bakir Izetbegovic goes out to vote at a polling station in a Sarajevo school with his wife Sebija. Photo: Anadolu
    Photo: Anadolu
    Photo: Anadolu
     
  • Coalition of NGOs Pod Lupom, which is monitoring the elections, held a press conference at 11am. According to project director Dario Jovanovic, there have been 16 reported violations. Pod Lupom's next conference will be at 10pm.
  • Chairman of the Council of Ministers Denis Zvizdic has turned out to vote at an elementary school in Sarajevo. 
     
    He said he hoped for a return to crucial issues after the elections, and to see elected mayors begin to implement thousands of promised projects.
  • Pod Lupom has reported that access has been restricted at polling stations to a small number of its volunteer monitors during the process of manually counting ballots.
  • President of Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik has turned out to vote in the town of Laktasi.
     
    He said that the newly elected officials will be able to do a lot with the support of the people.
     
    Photo: Anadolu
    Photo: Anadolu
     
  • Some on Twitter voiced skepticism about today's local elections. The polls have been overshadowed by last week's divisive referendum in the Republika Srpska entity and worries that political parties will resort to vote-buying.
     
  • The first turnout figures of the day have been released. 
     
    By 11am, 506,327 voters had cast their ballots. This represents 16.17 percent of the 3,124,775 voters on the regular register.
     
    In Banja Luka, 18.5 percent had voted. Bihac saw a turnout of 13 percent, Bijeljina 19.47 percent, but only 8.6 percent in Sarajevo Centar.  
  • The Central Election Commission, CIK, said the polling station in Stolac that opened hours late this morning is now open. 19 other municipalities saw slight delays, said president of the commission Ahmet Santic.
     
    Santic said at a midday press conference that CIK had received complaints about candidates breaking the period of elections silence in posts on social media. '
     
    "The CIK receives complaints about the activities of political subjects via Facebook, where some candidates are calling voters to vote. There are a large number of such letters," said Santic, noting that the phenomenon was hard to police but should stop "on moral grounds".
     
     
  • Voters in the northeastern municipality of Tuzla, where turnout by 11am was 13 percent.
     
    Photo: Anadolu
    Photo: Anadolu
    Photo: Anadolu
     
  • Head of the EU delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, has said the country is a mature democracy. He said the elections were taking place in the shadow of issues that go beyond the local level, but that citizens should vote for the candidates who will serve their interests.
     
    Wigemark added that it was not an acceptable situation that the town of Mostar is not involved in today's elections, and that although the EU has so far not been engaged in resolving that issue, perhaps it was time to do so.
  • Current mayor of Novo Sarajevo, Nedzad Koldzo, has turned out to vote, saying: "Today [citizens] have the ability to take advantage of their democratic right to choose between progress and the stagnation of political bickering that is part of our everyday life."
  • Irfan Cengic, secretary general of the SDP party, tweeted about voting in Stari Grad, Sarajevo. 
  • Klix.ba and Oslobodjenje are reporting that police in the city of Bijeljina have arrested several people on suspicion of electoral bribery. It is alleged that some people have handed over their ID cards to others for voting in exchange for money.
  • A person has been pulled away from a polling station in Bistrik, in the Stari Grad municipality of Sarajevo, for allegedly lobbying voters to vote for specific candidates, according to local media.
  • Elections have been entirely canceled in Stolac, according to monitoring NGO Pod Lupom. Every polling station was shut down.
     
    Problems began earlier today when a polling station failed to open on time. Reports suggested then that the polling station had not received the excerpt from the electoral roll in time. 
     
    More soon.
  • Chairman of the House of Representatives of the Federation Parliament, Edin Music, has explained some background to the closing of polling stations in Stolac.
     
    He claimed that problems began when concerns were raised about local electoral officials. The officials were then replaced. This led to tension and doubts over irregularities in the municipality, he said.
  • The Ministry of the Interior of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton has confirmed to local media that physical altercations formed part of the tension in Stolac today that led to all polling stations in the municipality being closed. It was still working to clarify the timeline of events that occurred, according to news website Klix.ba.
  • A round-up of events in the mostly Serb-led entity Republika Srpska:
     
    RS's Ministry of Internal Affairs said it had received reports of violations at four of its polling stations by 3pm. 
     
    • At 8.35am, a member of the voting committee in the municipality of Lopare and representative of Serbian Progressive Party, SNS, referred to by the initials D.M., allegedly shoved the deputy mayor Ranko Todorovic, who was on a tour of the municipality's polling stations. D.M. was issued with a misdemeanour, said the ministry. 
    • In the village of Lisnja, in the municipality of Prnjavor, a person with the initials E.P. was escorted from a polling station after allegedly disrupting the voting process. 
    • From 12.00pm to 1.30pm, a polling station in Turic, in the municipality of Pelagicevo, was closed due to a disturbance of public peace and order. One person was apprehended and issued a misdemeanour. 
    • In Bijeljina, members of the local police force in cooperation with the internal ministry's unit for organised and serious crime received information about a group of people handing over their ID cards in exchange for money for the purpose of securing votes for certain candidates. A number of people have been identified and the ID cards temporarily seized. An investigation is underway.
  • Al Jazeera reports that a member of the Municipal Election Commission in Stolac has been hospitalised, according to member of the Central Election Commission Vlado Rogic.
  • The latest turnout figures are out. Up till 3pm, 1,242,212 voters exercised their democratic right - representing 38.78 percent of the electorate, said Ahmet Santic of the Central Election Committee.
     
    In the Federation entity, turnout was 36.41 percent, and in Republika Srpska it was 42.73 percent. 
     
    Banja Luka has seen strong turnout at 41.44 percent, while in Trebinje it was 55.53 percent. Topping the list was Banovici with 71.13 percent.
     
    Meanwhile, local media report that special police have been sent to Stolac, where voting has been completely suspended.
  • The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Bosnia's Serb-dominated entity, Republika Srpska, has refuted the version of events given by Minister for Security Dragan Mektic about altercations last night in the town of Prnjavor. 
     
    It said the Serbian citizens who, according to Minister for Security Dragan Mektic, appeared to want to cause unrest on elections day, did not instigate the events that led to a disturbance of the peace in that town on the eve of the local elections. 

    The ministry said that according to an investigation carried out in Prnjavor by local police and a support unit from Banja Luka, it was a group of locals who kicked off the altercations outside a hotel where the Serbian citizens were staying. 

    According to the ministry, the Serbian citizens aren’t on Interpol’s wanted list and they didn't enter Prnjavor with any suspicious items.

    A brawl in front of a hotel in Prnjavor was reported to police at 6pm on Saturday by president of the municipal board of Serbian Democratic Party, SDS, Sinisa Gataric, the ruling party in that city. 
  • The coalition of NGOs monitoring the elections, Pod Lupom, has strongly condemned violent incidents that took place today, saying they were a departure from democratic process.
     
    By 4.30pm, the organisation had registered 93 "critical situations", including pressure being put on electoral monitors. It raised 49 objections with the Central Election Commission.
     
    News portal Klix.ba has quoted an unnamed source alleging that the altercations in Stolac began over electoral officials accepting Croatian passports as ID for voting. Officials who disagreed with the practise were allegedly removed and replaced, according to the report. BIRN cannot yet confirm this report.
     
    Tensions in Stolac escalated and several electoral officials were reportedly injured during an affray. The Central Election Commission has said it will now have to assess how to treat votes from the polling stations across Stolac.
  • More on irregularities reported by Pod Lupom today:
     
    • One of the most common complaints related to pressure being put on voters to vote for particular candidates
    • Voting without valid ID and voting on behalf of other people was also seen, according to them
    • Complaints had been received that ballot papers were distributed around polling stations with particular candidates already selected
  • President of the Central Election Commission Ahmet Santic addresses the press conference. Photo: Anadolu
     
  • Al Jazeera reporters have tweeted pictures of discarded ballot boxes in Stolac, where voting came to an abrupt end today following reported violence.
  • Polls have now closed. First indications of final turnout will be announced at around 9pm.
  • The Central Election Commission (CIK) has said it will not report on irregularities in Stolac today that saw polling stations close until it has received full information from the Municipal Election Commission and relevant police forces.
     
    Ahmet Santic, chair of CIK, said Ivan Peric - the chair of Stolac election commission who was reportedly attacked today - is in good health.
  • In Banja Luka, early results for the mayoral race have seen supporters of SNSD candidate Igor Radojicic celebrating in the streets. Early results from 14 percent of votes processed showed Radojicic on 54.58 percent while his rival Dragan Cavic was on 41.98.
  • Final turnout for today's elections was 53.88 percent, according to the Central Election Commission, with 1,723,140 voters casting ballots today. The Federation entity saw turnout of 50.61 percent while the figure in Republika Srpska was 59.49 percent.
     
    In the Brcko District, 49.15 percent of the electorate came out to vote.
     
     
  • The Social Democratic Party, SDA, is celebrating already. It is confidently claiming victory in eight of the nine municipalities in the canton of Sarajevo. Official results have not yet been released, though.
Powered by ScribbleLive Content Marketing Software Platform

Premium Selection

the-many-charms-of-valjevo-06-22-2017
24 Jul 17

The Many Charms of Serbia's Valjevo

Whether you are into hiking or history, summer or winter activities, Valjevo has it all.

the-srebrenica-refugee-camp-that-never-closed-07-21-2017
24 Jul 17

The Srebrenica Refugee Camp that Never Closed

A hundred kilometres from Srebrenica, 400 female relatives and survivors of the 1995 genocide still live in the rundown temporary camp where they found shelter, and say they will never return home.

20 Jul 17

Serbia in Two Minds Over New IMF Deal

19 Jul 17

New Migrants Face Old Terrors on Balkan Route