Bosniaks to Boycott Elections in Srebrenica- Bosniak political parties are to boycott re-run local elections in the town of Srebrenica on February 21, claiming the authorities are not doing enough to tackle irregularities which they allege worked to the benefit of Serb candidates in the original vote in November.
Last month, Bosnia’s Central Election Commission, CIK annulled the results of the vote in most polling stations in Srebrenica in the east of the country and Doboj in the north.
Experts identified various irregularities connected to voter signatures, indicating forgery. Voting with invalid ID documents and the use of documents issued outside the legal deadline was also registered.
But the results of the Srebrenica elections were only annulled at regular polling stations, not for votes cast from abroad, which sparked the Bosniak parties’ boycott.
Alija Tabakovic, candidate for mayor of Srebrenica from the My Address: Srebrenica alliance of Bosniak political parties, told media that there were many reasons for the CIK to annul the mail-in ballots for the Srebrenica local elections.
Due to delays in printing election materials for the November elections due to a lack of funding, voting materials were sent abroad later than usual.
“The responsibility lies solely with the CIK. It is their fault that they did not send the voting materials out on time,” Tabakovic said.
He said that the My Address: Srebrenica alliance would call on people not to go to the polls.
However, Zeljko Bakalar, the president of the CIK, told N1 TV that candidates from My Address: Srebrenica will be on the ballots because they were registered earlier.
Sadik Ahmetovic, president of the My Address: Srebrenica election headquarters, claimed on Monday that the mail-in voting error deprived the alliance of 1,000 votes.
“We have a lot of evidence that the mail-in ballots should be annulled because we have confirmations from the postal operators that the election material was 25 to 26 days late,” Ahmetovic told media.
He alleged the aim was to “erase Bosniaks from political life in Republika Srpska [Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity]”.
He argued the only solution is to call new elections and vowed to appeal to the Bosnian Constitutional Court.
The now-annulled results gave victory to Srebrenica’s incumbent mayor Mladen Grujicic, a member of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, the party headed by Bosnian Serb political leader Milorad Dodik, over Alija Tabakovic, a candidate backed by Bosniak political parties in Srebrenica.
Elections in Srebrenica are always closely watched because of the 1995 massacres of more than 7,000 Bosniak men and boys by Bosnian Serb forces. International and domestic court rulings have classified the killings as genocide.
In December, Bosnian police arrested three people, Bego Bektic, Enver Hamzic and Muamer Sandzic, all members of the non-ethnic Social Democratic Party, on suspicion of trying to tamper with the election in Srebrenica.
They are suspected of illegally using people’s personal data to cast votes by post from Serbia in favour of Grujicic.