Final Mostar Tally Gives Muslim Party a 5-Seat Edge
EU decides to make the results public after
the local electoral commission,divided along
ethnic lines, fails to do so.
By Davor Huic
ZAGREB, July 12 (Reuters) - The Muslim nationalist party won a five-seat edge over the rival Croats in elections in the divided Bosnian city of Mostar, according to final official results published on Friday. According to the results from the European Union admistration in Mostar, the ruling Bosnian Party of the Democratic Action (SDA) won 21 out of 37 seats, while the separatist Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) won the other 16.
Croats and Muslims fought a bitter war in 1993 and 1994 over control of the city, which Croat nationalists want as the capital of a self-styled Bosnian Croat state. Muslims want Mostar to be a model of Bosnian reintegration. The EU, which runs an interim administration in Mostar and sponsored the May 30th poll, decided to make the results public after the local electoral commission, which is divided strictly along ethnic lines, failed to do so.
"We waited 11 days for the results. But they were not forthcoming. That is why the EU administration decided to go ahead and publish the results," the EU chief of staff, Sir Martin Garrod told a press conference in Mostar. "It is clearly quite wrong that all those citizens of Mostar who voted in the elections should be denied the knowledge of the results of their voting," Bosnian radio quoted him as saying.
But the mayor of the Croat part of the divided town, Mijo Brajkovic, immediately complained that releasing the results was not the EU's responsibility, under Bosnia's electoral laws. Brajkovic said he would not take part in the establishment of the municipal and city authorities because of what he termed the "illegal activities" of the EU. He also threatened to reject any new EU mandate. The present two-year EU mandate to unify and rebuild Mostar expires on July 23, and its administrator Ricardo Peres Casado made it clear last week he would recommend that it be extended.
But analysts believe that Croat nationalists who oppose reunification of the city will try everything possible to prevent the establishment of the newly elected city bodies, particularly as the rival Muslims now hold a substantial majority. Both Croats and Muslims voted along ethnic lines in the elections, with the smaller opposition parties sharing less than five percent of the ballots. Thanks partly to the votes of Muslim refugees from Mostar currently living in Western Europe, the SDA-led coalition won a narrow majority of votes which translated into a more subtantial advantage in seats on the city council.
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