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Nationalist Parties Doing Well In Bosnia's Local Elections

Mladen Grujicic, candidate for mayor of Srebrenica
Mladen Grujicic, candidate for mayor of Srebrenica

Preliminary results from voting in Bosnia-Herzegovina show that nationalist parties are set to win many of the races for mayor and city council seats in the local elections held on October 2.

Voters chose mayors and municipal councils in both of Bosnia's two semiautonomous regions -- the Republika Srpska and the Bosniak-Croat Federation -- each of which have their own governments, presidents, and parliaments.

Election officials said slightly more than half of the some 3.2 million voters cast ballots in the elections and that nationalist parties were doing particularly well.

In Republika Srpska, early results showed the pro-Russia separatist party led by ultranationalist President Milorad Dodik ahead of its rivals.

Dodik proclaimed the victory of his Alliance of Independent Social-Democrats party late on October 2, saying the party had won in 11 more municipalities than in previous elections.

"Republika Srpska won twice in just seven days," said Dodik after preliminary results were announced in reference to a controversial referendum he held on September 25 over a disputed holiday. "The response of our people was just impressive."

In the town of Srebrenica, 34-year-old ethnic Serb Mladen Grujicic declared victory over his Bosniak opponent and said people had shown "they want changes."

If he wins, Grujicic's victory would make him the town's first ethnic Serb leader since 1999.

But incumbent Mayor Camil Durakovic said it was too early to concede.

In the southern town of Stolac, a fight broke out when a Bosniak candidate complained of fraud and attacked an ethnic Croat who was overseeing the poll, National Electoral Commission chief Ahmet Santic said.

Three people were slightly injured in the incident and polling was cancelled in the town of 14,500 people, mainly Croats and Bosniaks.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP

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