The Balkans Today: 10th - 14th October 2016
 
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The Balkans Today

Up to the minute news and updates from the Balkan region

The Balkans Today: 10th - 14th October 2016

Our team brings you live updates of the most important events and developments in the Balkans as they happen.

  • Top stories from the Balkans this Monday:
     
    • As Bosnia's state prosecutor prepares to grill low-ranking witnesses, experts say it will be hard for state institutions to hold senior officials in Republika Srpska to account for the recent banned referendum. Read more.
       
    • Ahead of Aleksandar Vucic’s planned meetings with citizens in Nis, some experts say he would be better off solving issues at national level rather than trying to resolve individual problems - and call the visit a political stunt. Read more.
       
    • Despite stepping down as leader of Bulgaria’s powerful ethnic-Turkish MRF party, many say the highly controversial Dogan still calls the shots behind the scenes. Read more.
  • The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether the proposed acquisition of Cemex Croatia by Hungarian company HeidelbergCement and Schwenk is in line with the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission has concerns that the proposed takeover may reduce competition for grey cement in Croatia.

    Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "The construction sector, like any other sector needs competition. As cement is an essential part of the sector we need to make sure that consolidation does not lead to higher prices for construction companies and ultimately consumers in Croatia."

    The Commission has preliminary concerns regarding the supply of grey cement in southern Croatia, including in particular in Dalmatia, where Cemex Croatia operates three cement plants in Split and faces competition from DDC's imports from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • In the first week in November, Croatian resort Opatija will host the major international halal congress, which will bring together the world's leading halal institutions, manufacturers, service providers, customers and vendors, academic and research community, local media reported.


    The third World Halal Day, after the ones held in Singapore and India, will be entirely dedicated to the halal market, halal tourism, halal food and nutrition, as well as Islamic banking and finance. This important congress will be attended by representatives from Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Mauritius, India, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea.
  • Nadia Murad, a Yazidi rights activist who was kidnapped and detained by Islamic State in Iraq in 2014, has been awarded the 2016 winner of the prestigious Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize.
     
    The award was presented at a special ceremony at the opening day of the autumn plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe today.
     
    In her acceptance speech, Murad said she hopes “this award will give me renewed strength to fight extremism and say to it: good prevails.”
     
    BIRN’s regional director Gordana Igric and the International Institute of Human Rights - René Cassin Foundation, were the other two candidates shortlisted for this year’s prize.
     
  • #Croatia President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarević hands HDZ conservative leader Andrej Plenković mandate to form new gove… twitter.com/i/web/status/7…

  • Bosnia's state prosecutor started to grill low-ranking officials from Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity, Republika Srpska, on Monday as suspects in a criminal investigation against the entity’s President, Milorad Dodik, for failing to enforce a decision by the Constitutional Court which had put a ban on the referendum which took place on September 25.

    The prosecution has questioned Goran Zmijanjac, a member of Republika Srpska's commission for the implementation of a plebiscite on the entity's statehood day on September 25.


    It is expected that the prosecution will also hold a hearing today with Banja Luka-based lawyer Milan Petkovic, also member of the referendum commission.

    Republika Srpska president Milorad Dodik. Photo: Beta.


  • Kosovo’s police director in the Mitrovica area, Nehat Thaci, who was arrested by Serbian police on September 29 on charges of terrorism, was transferred on Monday to the Belgrade Special Court where he will be questioned, N1 television network reported.

    Serbian police arrested Thaci at the Konculj administrative border crossing with Kosovo and transferred him to Nis where he was put in detention.
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will visit Serbia in the first half of December, Russia’s ambassador to Serbia, Aleksandar Cepurin, announced on Monday during a conference in Belgrade called ‘Serbia, NATO, Russia – what is Serbia’s interest?’. 

    Cepurin also addressed rumours that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Serbia has been cancelled, saying they were untrue and that preparations for his visit are ongoing, although the exact dates have not been finalised.
       
    Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic also has a visit to Russia planned, travelling to Saint Petersburg from December 12-14.
  • The Appeals Court in Kosovo’s capital, Pristina, rejected the request of Oliver Ivanovic, who was jailed for ordering the murder of ethnic Albanians in April 1999, and four other defendants allegedly involved in the act, to have Albanian judge Driton Muharremi removed from their case. 

    At the hearing of September 28, the defendants’ lawyers had asked for Muharrami to be expelled from the panel of judges assigned to the trial, questioning his impartiality and claiming that they do not trust Albanian judges.

    The Appeals Court rejected the claim because it deemed “there are no existing circumstances that cast doubts on the impartiality of the judge, based on the article 39.3 of Kosovo’s Penal Code”.

    Ivanovic was sentenced to nine years in jail on January 21 for war crimes committed against Albanians. His appeals hearing will take place on Tuesday.

    The hearing of Oliver Ivanovic and four other suspects  | Photo: BIRN   


  • The mandates for the Serbian representatives in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have not been verified based on the objection of the Socialist Group, Serbian television network N1 reported on Monday.

    During the opening day of the autumn plenary session of Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly, the Socialist Group claimed that the Serbian delegation is not respecting the EU’s principle of representativeness.

    Among the seven representatives from Serbia in the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly, there are none from the Democratic Party.
  • Top stories from the Balkans this Tuesday:
     
    • While Bulgaria’s main left and right-wing candidates battle it out to become head of state, a number of less serious candidates have their eyes on the post. Read more.
     
    • The key to a lasting solution to the crisis in Macedonia lies partly in determining the truth about the wiretap allegations – but going ahead with the early elections is also an important step, British Ambassador Charles Garrett says. Read the full interview.
     
    • Events in Srebrenica and the recent controversial referendum have been like salt in the wounds for many Bosniaks living in Bosnia's Serb-dominated entity. Read more.
  • As Macedonia celebrates its 75th anniversary since the start of the anti-fascist uprising during the Second World War, the opposition Social Democrats together with the Association of WWII Veterans and other NGOs are staging a big anti-government protest march in Skopje.
     
    The opposition says that the aim of the march, which comes two months before the planned snap polls on December 11, is to symbolise the fight against oppression, whether it be external like in the Second World War, or done by internal forces, which the opposition claims to recognise in the ruling VMRO DPMNE party.
     
    The march starts at 2 pm and thousands of people are expected to attend the event.
    Photo by: MIA
     
  • Serbia could not make “any concessions to Albanians from Kosovo” in its dispute with Pristina over the ownership of telecommunications property and the Trepca mining complex in northern Kosovo, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said on Tuesday.

    “We have already made a lot concessions to Albanians. Somewhere there should be a line,” Nikolic told Serbian daily Blic. “That is why we cannot give up on Trepca or Telekom [Srbija].”

    He also stated that Belgrade should not accept Brussels’ terms for continuing negotiations on Serbia’s path towards the EU if it means relinquishing the property in Kosovo.
  • Protesters gathered outside the government building of Sarajevo Canton, Bosnia, today to demand the resignation of interior minister after two students were killed last night after being hit by a car.
     
    The protestors said police around Sarajevo were failing to stop drivers who speed and put lives at risk, and called for change.
     
    The fatal car accident took place outside the National Museum. One young woman was reportedly killed at the scene while the other died later in hospital.
  • Bulgaria’s minister of culture Vezhdi Razhidov has proposed to his Macedonian counterpart Elizabeta Kanceska–Milevska, that the two neighbouring countries should erect a joint memorial to soldiers who were killed during a World War I battle at the Kaymakchalan peak in Macedonia.

    “Such a monument will be a clear expression of the dignity of the two countries, without anyone’s feelings being hurt. Let us unite against what brings us together, the memory of the deceased,” Rashidov said.

    Tensions have sparked between the two countries in recent weeks after Macedonian talk-show host Milenko Nedelkovski destroyed a memorial plaque that honoured thousands of Bulgarian soldiers who died in the historic battle at Kaymakchalan in 1916, which was won by Serbian troops.

    The plaque was put up a few months earlier at the initiative of Bulgarian soldiers, but was done without the official permission of the Macedonian state.

    Bulgaria’s minister of culture Vezhdi Razhidov with his Macedonian counterpart Elizabeta Kanceska–Milevska. Photo: Bulgarian Ministry of Culture


  • #Montenegro PM Milo Đukanović visits the construction site of the Bar-Boljare motorway at Vjeternik Tunnel. twitter.com/vladacg/status…

  • World famous Danish architect and urban design consultant Jan Gehl has been invited by Yordanka Fandakova, the mayor of the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, to consult her municipality in developing its long term strategy for turning the capital into a green city with a focus on its historical and cultural heritage, the municipality’s press office announced on Tuesday.

    Across his career, Gehl has been focused on improving the quality of urban life, with pedestrian and cyclist friendly zones a common feature. He significantly contributed to the transformation of his hometown, Copenhagen, from a car-dominated to pedestrian-oriented city with one of the longest pedestrian and shopping areas in Europe.

    Gehl arrived in Bulgaria on Sunday to take part in the annual architectural festival One Architecture Week in Plovdiv, which ended on Sunday, and to present his latest book ‘Cities for People’ to the Bulgarian audience.

    Fandakova and Gehl on Tuesday. Photo: Sofia Municipality 


  • The greatest challenges for media pluralism in Bulgaria are in the areas of market plurality and political independence, the Media Pluralism Monitor 2016, a pan-European mechanism for assessing the media landscapes in the EU member states, concluded. 

    According to the survey, conducted by the Bulgarian partner of the initiative, Foundation Media Democracy, three of the market plurality indicators point toward particularly high risk for Bulgaria’s media sector. These are: the commercial and owner influence over editorial content (92 per cent), the cross media concentration of ownership and competition enforcement (89 per cent) and the concentration of media ownership in different mediums (88 per cent). 

    In terms of political independence, the survey concluded that the state’s regulation of resources and political control over media outlets also pose a high risk to the sector. 

    Additionally, social inclusiveness, particularly in terms of the ability of the public to access, analyse, evaluate and create media, is also a threat to the country’s media pluralism.

  • Top stories from the Balkans this Wednesday:
     
    • The Social Democratic Party remains the main political force in Romania, but its future hangs on party unity and attracting new members. Read more.
     
    • EU and US officials indicated they would not act over the illegal Bosnian Serb referendum before local elections to avoid fuelling already heightened tensions – but even after the ballot, they remain quiet. Read more.
     
    • Change to Serbia’s finance law bolsters centralisation and will further impoverish the country’s underdeveloped regions, experts say. Read more.
  • Bosnians are in mourning for two female students killed by a speeding car in Sarajevo on Monday night, shining the light Bosnia's policing and road safety issues.
     
    Cantonal authorities in Sarajevo have sought to reassure citizens after mass protests erupted yesterday by holding an extraordinary cantonal session to discuss security.
     
    Demonstrations were held outside the cantonal building in Sarajevo yesterday to protest poor police enforcement of speed limits, and a vigil last night reportedly attracted several hundred people.
     
    The driver who hit the young women outside the National Museum fled the scene and is reported to have crossed the border into Serbia. 
  • Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic started his official visit to the Russian Federation on Wednesday, during which he will open the Serbian consulate in Saint Petersburg.

    The two countries are also expected to sign numerous agreements on collaboration in the education sector while Nikolic is in Russia, according to a statement from the President’s cabinet.
  • Over 110 miners have spent more than 24 hours inside Bulgaria’s Babino coal mine, near the western town of Bobov Dol, to protest against delayed salaries and a plan by the mine’s owner, Hristo Kovachki, to lay off 650 workers.

    Although Kovachki has withdrawn his letter notifying the energy ministry of the planned closure of the mine, the workers’ protest continues to grow, the Bulgarian National Radio reported.

    Workers from other mines have also joined their colleagues at their ongoing protest on Wednesday, being held in front of the building of Kovachki’s company, Bobov Dol Coal Production.
  • Macedonian construction company Beton-Skopje has won the tender for the construction of the new Central Bank headquarters, worth 24 million euros.
     
    This latest construction project hikes the overall cost of the government-sponsored revamp of the capital, dubbed “Skopje 2014”, to 667 million euros.
     
    Skopje. Photo by: Robert Atanasovski
     
  • 'Nato & Croats preparing for attack on Serbia', screams headline in tomorrow's pro-Belgrade government tabloid Info… twitter.com/i/web/status/7…

  • Top stories from the Balkans this Thursday:
     
    • Amid an ongoing crisis over refugees in the south, Macedonian Army personnel have announced a strike, complaining of low and overdue wages and poor working conditions. Read more.
       
    • Milo Djukanovic faces his perhaps stiffest challenge ever in the October elections, as the opposition mulls forming a grand alliance that could end his decades of power. Read more.
       
    • Despite their approval by the international monitoring body that oversaw Bosnia’s 2013 census, authorities in Republika Srpska say they will continue to dispute the results. Read more.
     
     
     
  • A man suspected of killing two women in a hit-and-run incident in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, has reportedly been arrested in Serbia. 
     
    The suspect is said by local media to have fled over the border after Monday evening's fatal accident.
     
    The incident has sparked fury as citizens gathered en masse to protest poor road safety, saying they feared for their lives.
     
    Further demonstrations are planned today to call for resignations in Sarajevo Canton government and for concrete improvements to policing to stop speeding drivers on the roads of Sarajevo.
     
    A man attends a vigil on Tuesday evening for the two students who were killed. Photo: Anadolu Agency
     
  • Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama raised the issue of Kosovo while in a debate with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic at the sixth Security Forum in Belgrade on Thursday, claiming that “as soon as Serbia recognises Kosovo as independent state, it will be better for everyone.”
     
    Although Belgrade-Tirana relations are improving, Rama added that the Kosovo issue is one of the things that he and Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic disagree on, and also expressed his support for dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade to normalise their relations.
     
    Touching on another contentious subject, Rama also stated his belief that the Trepca mining complex in the Serb-majority north of Kosovo should be under Pristina’s control, saying it belongs to Kosovo and its citizens, regardless of their nationality.
     
    Albanian PM Edi Rama and his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic will participate in business and security forums in Belgrade and Nis this week. Photo: BIRN/Natalia Zaba.
     
     
  • Member of Azerbaijan`s parliament, vice-president of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Azay Quliyev will be visiting Montenegro from October 12-18 to observe parliamentary elections.

    He will inspect pre-electoral preparations and monitor the voting in the city of Podgorica in the capacity of head of the OSCE PA mission on October 16, the Azerbaijan`s state agency AZERTAC reported.

    Quliyev will present the OSCE PA mission’s report on the results of the monitoring.
  • Bulgarian banker Tsvetan Vasilev, who Bulgarian authorities want extradited from Serbia over the 2014 collapse of his bank, CCB, is ready to testify via video call or in front of Bulgarian prosecutors in Belgrade, he told Bulgarian broadcaster BTV on Thursday.

    Vasilev has been resisting extradition because he believes he would not get a fair trial in Bulgaria, claiming that the whole process against him was politically motivated. 

    Earlier in September, in an interview for the website ktbfiles.com, he accused Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov of racketeering businesses in the country and of having links to controversial businessman and MP Delyan Peevski.

    Meanwhile, Bulgaria’s chief prosecutor, Sotir Tsatsarov, announced on Tuesday that the trial against Vasilev will start in February or March 2017.


    Tsetan Vasilev. Photo CCB Archive




  • Shpetim Idrizi, the chairman of Albania’s Party for Justice, Integration and Unity, which represents the rights of the country’s Cham community has slammed Albania’s speaker of parliament, Ilir Meta  for not being able to better articulate the Cham issues during an official visit to Greece on October 10.

    Thursday’s parliament session was dominated by debates over how to handle the Cham issue, which has returned to the spotlight after Greece accused the EU Enlargement Commissioner, Johannes Hahn, of siding with Albania over it.

    The chairman of PDIU, Shpetim Idrizi. Photo: Facebook 
  • Bulgaria is at risk of being overpowered by Russia’s interests in the Balkan country and is highly vulnerable to Moscow’s political influence, a joint report by the US Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Bulgarian Center for the Study of Democracy, released on Thursday, shows.

    The report, titled ‘The Kremlin Playbook: Understanding Russian Influence in Central and Eastern Europe’, states that Russia’s footprint on Bulgaria’s economy, in terms of its corporate presence, foreign direct investment, trade relations and private investments, amounts to 12 per cent of the GDP – a level of interference which they qualify as very difficult to control.
  • Important resting grounds for migratory birds on Montenegro’s Lake Skadar suffer serious setback, international foundation Euronatur has warned on Thusrady, demanding an immediate stop to Porto Skadar Lake project.

    As part of the Porto Skadar Lake project, French businessman Lionel Sonigo hopes to build a large luxury hotel with panorama restaurant, private villas and a yachting marina.

    "There are already plans for extensive building projects in the national park. Lake Skadar is of international importance, particularly for the protection of migratory birds. We are calling for the decision makers responsible to put an immediate stop to the Porto Skadar Lake project. At the moment, the label “national park” is being misused to boost luxury tourism. In a national park, the conservation of nature must be at its heart," said Gabriel Schwaderer, head of EuroNatur.
  • Kosovo Police on Thursday warned its officers that it could be risky to enter Serbia after the arrest last month of Mitrovica police director Nehat Thaci, who is being held in Belgrade on terrorism charges.

    “Kosovo Police respects the right of everyone to move freely; however, referring to the latest developments in the arrest in Serbia of Mitrovica Regional Director-South, Lieutenant Colonel Nehat Thaqi, Kosovo Police has an obligation to inform and to suggest to its employees that going to and moving around Serbia has turned out to be unsafe, with unpredictable consequences for our employees,” said police spokesperson Daut Hoxha.

  • Russia is pouring money into Montenegro's election campaign in an attempt to derail the country's progress towards joining NATO, the country's Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic said on Thursday, three days ahead of an election.

    In an interview with Reuters, he said opposition parties were being financed by Moscow, which saw Sunday's parliamentary vote as a final opportunity to stop the Balkan region's rush to integrate with the European Union and the Atlantic alliance.

    "Russia has engaged a serious financial potential, which is I assume, made possible through its oligarchs and funneled through secret channels through Serbia and Republika Srpska," Djukanovic said, referring to the Serbian part of Bosnia, Montenegro's northern neighbor.

    Montenegrin PM Milo Djukanovic. Photo: BIRN.


  • Top stories from the Balkans this Friday:
     
    • The launch on Friday of a joint Serbia-Albania Chamber of Commerce in Nis is intended to enliven currently weak economic ties between the two countries - but not everyone expects it to succeed. Read more.
       
    • Bulgaria remains convinced it can become the gas distribution hub for the Balkans - despite Turkey’s own, more advanced, plans. Read more.
       
    • The vice-president of Montenegro’s ruling party, Dusko Markovic, tells BIRN that the DPS will romp home again in ‘absolutely fair and free’ elections on Sunday. Read the interview.
       
    • EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn's visit to Skopje on Friday is aimed at securing the December 11 early election date, which he says is only the first step towards leading the country out of its current crisis. Read more.
     
  • The Trump campaign has denied that Republican candidate Donald Trump gave an interview to Serbian weekly Nedeljnik in which he called the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia during Bill Clinton’s administration a “mistake”, Politico reported on Thursday.

    Trump’s senior communications advisor, Jason Miller, said Trump and the Indiana state director of his campaign, Suzie Jaworowski, did not speak to Nedeljnik and called the report “a hoax”, Politico claimed.

    In the report by Nedeljnik, which is no longer online, Jaworowski was quoted as saying: "The bombardment of Serbs, who were our allies in both World Wars, was a big mistake. Serbs are very good people. Unfortunately, Clinton's administration has caused them a lot of harm, but also to the whole Balkan where they made chaos."
     
     
  • Officials in Bosnia today signed a protocol to reconstruct the Arnaudija mosque in Banja Luka, according to news agency Fena.
     
    Director of the Waqf fund of the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina Senaid Zajimović signed the document with Adnan Ertem, general directorate of Turkey's Waqf.
     
    Dating back to the late 16th century, the mosque was destroyed by Bosnian Serb forces during the war, in 1993. 
     
    Local media reported that technical preparation to rebuild the historic holy building could begin this coming spring, once the tender process has been concluded.
     
     
  • One of the leaders of the Serbian Partisan football fan club, Aleksandar Stankovic, was killed in a shooting on Thursday evening in Belgrade, N1 television station reported.

    A prison guard who was present at the time was also injured in the incident, which occurred at the intersection of Bacvanske and Gospodara Vucica in the Pasino Brdo neighbourhood, south-east of the city centre.

    Stankovic become known to the public in Serbia after the Partisan club's secretary general was physically assaulted in late May.

    He was arrested in relation to the incident, but later released as the authorities did not find reason to keep him in custody.

    Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said at the time that Stankovic was released because “he did not lay a finger on nobody”, although he was filmed at the crime scene.
  • After meeting with EU Enlargement Commission Johannes Hahn on Friday morning, Menduh Thaci, head of the opposition Democratic Party of Albanians, said that his party would support the proposed law changes aimed at helping the work of the Special Prosecution, which is tasked with investigating high-level crime.
     
    The chief Special Prosecutor, Katica Janeva, also expressed hope that the changes to the law will pass before parliament dissolves ahead of the December 11 snap polls, following her own meeting with Hahn the same day.
     
    Having just started his visit to Macedonia, Hahn has also already met with civil society representatives, interim Prime Minister Emil Dimitriev and the head of the junior ruling Democratic Union for Integration, Ali Ahmeti, in separate meetings during Friday morning.
     
    According to a tweet he sent, the talks on credible elections, reform priorities and inter-ethnic reconciliation were comprehensive and constructive.
     
    Hahn will also meet with main opposition SDSM and main ruling VMRO DPMNE representatives before he holds a press conference scheduled for 2pm.
    EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn at a meeting with DPA leader Menduh Thaci
     
  • Serbia is declaring war on criminal groups, the country’s police minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said on Friday.

    “We have one message to the criminals that comes to Belgrade and Serbia, who think that can they can clash on our streets: we will not let you use our country as a polygon for your gunfight,” Stefanovic said.

    He announced that police will be “cleansed” from those who collaborated with criminals.
  • The digital era has begun in Bosnia and Herzegovina as the first digital TV test signals were sent out today at midday. 
     
    Minister of Communications and Transport of BiH, Ismir Jusko, pushed the button to send public TV signals out through the towns of Sarajevo, Mostar and Banja Luka.
     
    It is only the first phase of the digitisation of transmission and broadcasting in BiH, so citizens were warned not to buy their own digital receivers yet. Public broadcasters will continue to use an analog signal for the time being.
  • Serbian police minister Nebojsa Stefanovic has filed a lawsuit against former MP and Serbia’s ambassador to Mexico Vesna Pesic, as well as editors of the Pescanik website, Svetlana Lukic and Svetlana Vukovic, for the “violation of his honour and reputation”.

    Stefanovic is suing them over a column written by Pesic and published by Pescanik in which she claimed, among other things, that “only the stupidity of the Minister of Interior Nebojsa Stefanovic is compelling and unpredictable".

    Stefanovic is asking for 200,000 Serbian dinars (around 1,620 euros) in compensation.
  • Protests are set to continue in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on Monday in a public outpouring of anger at the deaths of two young women killed in a hit-and-run earlier this week.
     
    The demonstration, called "You are allowing this", will take place at 4pm outside the National Museum in Sarajevo, where Selma Agic and Edita Malkoc lost their lives last Monday evening.
     
    Several protests this week have attracted hundreds of attendees as the tragic story highlighted poor road safety in Bosnia, where protestors say police regularly turn a blind eye to speeding drivers.
     
    Demonstrators have demanded the resignation of key officials in Sarajevo Canton government, as well as the reform of traffic laws to punish speeding drivers.
  • Bosniak mayor of Srebrenica Camil Durakovic has conceded defeat to his rival, for now, in an interview with Sarajevo-based news website Klix.ba.
     
    The Central Elections Commission updated its website today, giving Serb mayoral candidate for Srebrenica, Mladen Grujicic, 4,675 votes against Durakovic's 3,897. 
     
    Durakovic said there were a small number of absentee ballots still to process, but that the result would not change significantly.
     
    "[There will be] another 100 or 200 absentee votes, and although all the votes are for me, there will not be big changes - Grujičić is the winner with 600 or 700 votes more. I did not expect a much different situation, but we will wait until Monday to confirm the election results," Durakovic told Klix.
     
    He said the possibility was open to him to appeal the result.
  • The international observers monitoring the parliamentary elections in Montenegro will present their preliminary post-election statement at a news conference on Monday, 17 October, in Podgorica.

    The mission is a joint undertaking of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR), the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA), and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

    The International Election Observation Mission comprises a total of 200 observers from 39 countries, including 143 long-term and short-term observers deployed by the OSCE/ODIHR, 43 parliamentarians and staff from the OSCE PA and 14 from PACE.
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