Bosnia-Herzegovina: Nationalist parties win parliamentary election

Posted in 08 October 2018

Related article

View archive of news

Croat, Muslim and Serb nationalist parties will dominate Bosnia's complex government in the next four years. Pro-Russian Serb nationalist leader Milorad Dodik has won a seat in the country's three-member presidency.

With the legislature poised to be split down ethnic lines, the result could hamper the reform process required for progress towards EU and NATO membership.

Dodik claimed victory on Sunday evening.

"My first priority will be the position of the Serb people and of the Republika Srspka," Dodik said, referring to the

autonomous region where he previously served as regional president. "I believe that Bosnia-Herzegovina also may progress if everyone is respected."

Bosnia map

Complex structure: Since the signing of the Dayton Accords in 1995, Bosnia has been divided into two entities: a predominantly Serbian area called Republika Srpska comprising 49 percent of Bosnia's territory and a Bosniak-Croat federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is further divided into 10 autonomous cantons.

Who is Milorad Dodik? Dodik, the longtime leader of the Serb-majority Republika Srpska region, is known for his pro-Russia stance. He is vocal proponent of secession of the Serb Republic and its integration with Serbia. He has prevented Bosnia-Herzegovina from recognizing Kosovo, and opposes joining NATO.

Deepen ethnic divisions: The election result deals a blow to hopes of bridging Bosnia's ethnic divide after the war that killed 100,000 people. The victory of nationalist parties with opposing views could further deepen ethnic division and slow Bosnia's progress towards European Union membership and NATO integration.