Croats Threaten to Resign
Over Mostar Election Results
‘One of four bags with about 8,000 blank ballot papers went missing in transit to the polling station in Bern.’
—Vjekoslav Lovric, Croat Election Supervisor
ZAGREB, July 10 (Reuters) - Bosnian Croats from Mostar on Wednesday demanded the European Union withold the final results of the first post-war elections held in the city ten days ago, because of alleged irregularities. Croatian state radio quoted Croat representatives on the joint Croat-Muslim electoral committee as threatening to resign if the EU declares the results valid.
On June 30, people registered as resident in Mostar before the outbreak of war cast their vote at booths throughout the city and in a number of European capitals. The Mostar municipal election, which was run by an interim EU administration, was widely seen as a litmus test for nation-wide elections due on September 14.
Last Sunday, Croats from the polarised city demanded the vote in Bonn be annulled and repeated after it was discovered that there were 26 more votes than registered voters. EU officials rejected the demand. "The Croatian side (in Mostar) would not accept final results of the Mostar election if the European Union publishes them in a decree," state radio quoted the town's deputy Croat mayor and Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) president Mile Puljic as saying. "Such a decision would lead (Mostar's) EU administration to the abyss of lawlesness," he said.
The ruling Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA) party won a landslide victory over the separatist Croat HDZ party in the voting abroad. But another Croat official from the joint commission appointed to supervise the elections, came up with some freshly discovered breaches of rules. "One of four bags with about 8,000 blank ballot papers went missing in transit to the polling station in Bern (Switzerland)," Vjekoslav Lovric told Croatian state television. He added there were also 1,355 fewer ballots than actual voters in Stari Grad municipality in Mostar, while one person was registered to have voted at two polling stations.
In a letter sent to the EU administrator Ricardo Peres Casado, Croatian members on the committee said the alleged irregularities gave them "the right not to accept the results before the breaches are corrected." The HDZ, which wants to form a unified Croat municipality in the west of the city, won a majority of votes cast in Mostar, but returns from foreign polling stations gave the SDA the overall majority.
Mostar's Croats and Muslims fought a vicious nine-month war in 1993-94 which destroyed much of the ancient Ottoman city. They later formed a loose federation but the town remained deeply divided.
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Berserkistan, Berserkistan, July 1 · Muslims in Narrow Win over Croats in Mostar Elections
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Berserkistan, June 29 · Bombing Rocks Mostar on Eve of Crucial Elections
Berserkistan, June 27 · Sunday’s Elections in Mostar: Flawed but Safe, Hopes EU
Berserkistan, June 27 · Returning Refugee Finds Mostar on Edge, Mistrustful
Berserkistan, June 25 · Mostar Elections: Dry Run for Bosnian Democracy
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