On Sunday the Danish election observation organization SILBA observed the general elections held in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Reporting on a generally calm day of elections, SILBA notes no systematic fraud. Strong political mobilization campaigns remains a challenge to free and fair elections.
27 international observers from the Danish organization SILBA observed the Bosnian general elections on Sunday in greater Sarajevo. The organization has stayed in Sarajevo since Thursday and conducted short-term observations in a total of 9 districts. While no systematic fraud has been observed, some of the procedures noted at the polling stations raised concern among the observers.
So says SILBA’s Head of Mission in Bosnia, Maria Kim Nielsen:
“We found some reason to suggest improvements, not least when it comes to the training of election officials and the right of citizens to vote without any kind of political interference – direct or indirect – in the election process”, she says.
Political deadlock since last elections
The elections on Sunday were held for the regional parliaments of each of Bosnia’s two administrative entities, as well as for the state of Bosnia as a whole and for the country’s three member presidency. However, with the nationalists ahead in the polls, as election results are counted, it remains doubtful whether much will change since last elections. In the last general elections in 2010, the nationalist parties won an overall majority of the vote.
Changes or the status quo
On paper, the elections has marked an opportunity for Bosnian citizens to vote for political changes in a country ridden by hard economic crisis and political deadlock. Yet, with a turnout of only 54.14% – two percentage points lower than the last elections in 2010 – much suggests that the enhancement of the overall legitimacy of politicians and institutions in the eyes of Bosnian voters is a challenge that must taken very seriously by the new government.