Campaigning for the October 7 elections in Bosnia officially started on Friday, although the political parties and candidates have been unofficially campaigning throughout the summer.
Fifteen candidates vie for seats on the tripartite Bosnian presidency – six run for the Bosniak seat, five for the Croat seat and four for the Serb seat. Voters in the Federation entity will elect the Bosniak and Croat members. The Bosniak candidates are Mirsad Hadžikadić (Platform for Progress), Fahrudin Radončić (Alliance for Better Future), Senad Šepić (Independent Bloc), Šefik Džaferović (Party of Democratic Action), Denis Bećirović (Social Democratic Party) and Amer Jerlagić (Party for BiH). The Croat candidates are Jerko Ivanković-Lijanović (People’s Party Working for Progress), Dragan Čović (Croat Democratic Union BiH), Boriša Falatar (Naša Stranka), Diana Zelenika (Croat Democratic Union 1990) and Željko Komšić (Democratic Front).
Voters in Republika Srpska will elect the Serb member on the presidency. The Serb candidates are Mirjana Popović (Serb People’s Party), Mladen Ivanić (Alliance for Victory), Milorad Dodik (Alliance of Independent Social Democrats) and Gojko Kličković (First Serb Democratic Party).
A record number of candidates joined the election race this year. They run for the seats on the national parliament, the parliaments of entities, the parliaments of Federation’s ten cantons and the Brčko District assembly. The president and vice presidents of Republika Srpska are also elected.
The Peace Implementation Council Steering Board, the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and the Council of Europe office in Sarajevo urged the political parties to conduct an election campaign free from negative, divisive and irresponsible rhetoric, and to focus on issues of real importance to the citizens, such as the rule of law, job creation, improvement of public services and tackling corruption.
“Elections are a fundamental aspect of democracy, in which citizens of BiH will exercise their right to make political choices about the future. All politicians bear the responsibility to create an atmosphere of dialogue and tolerance,” they said in a statement.
“Elections must be free and fair. The BiH authorities at all levels, political parties and candidates must ensure the integrity and the security of the electoral process.”