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Votes Being Counted Following Bosnian Poll


http://gdb.rferl.org/0DE2EF55-ECDF-460B-A90F-8F198055B062_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/0DE2EF55-ECDF-460B-A90F-8F198055B062_mw800_mh600.jpg An elderly couple votes in Sarajevo on October 1 (epa) October 2, 2006 -- Votes are being counted in Bosnia-Herzegovina following yesterday's general election in to pick politicians who will lead the Balkan nation after international supervision ends next year.


Bosnians voted for Serb, Croat, and Muslim members of the Presidency and parliament as well as the president and two vice presidents in the Republika Srpska. Turnout was put at about 43 percent.


Muslims and Croats support strengthening the central government. Serbs oppose changes that will weaken their autonomy.


Bosnia was divided into a Muslim-Croat federation and the Repubilka Srpska under the 1995 Dayton peace treaty ending Bosnia's war. Important decisions however are made by an international administrator who will be withdrawn next year.


(Reuters, AP)

Bosnia's General Elections
Election posters in Sarajevo on September 30, the day before Bosnians went to the polls (epa)

A DEEPLY DIVIDED LAND. Bosnia-Herzegovina goes to the polls deeply divided after months of tough campaigning exposed wounds still raw from the 1992-95 war among Serbs, Croats and Muslims.
Some 2.75 million Bosnians are registered to vote for a tripartite presidency and central parliament, choosing from 36 parties, eight coalitions, and 12 independent candidates.
Voters will also choose deputies for the two autonomous regions, electing a new president, vice-president and parliament in the Republika Srpska and deputies for the assemblies of the Muslim-Croat federation and its 10 cantons.
Most Muslim parties advocate the abolition of both regions, claiming the Republika Srpska was founded on ethnic cleansing and that Bosnia can never become a viable state if one half demands a separate identity.
Croat parties want effective protection of their distinct rights, with some tentative calls to create a third entity.
Most Republika Srpska parties stand for preserving autonomy and oppose the creation of a single police force, a key European Union demand for advancing Bosnia's membership bid.

SOURCES: International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies, UN Development Program, Reuters


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