IFIMES head: Election process was ridden with irregularities

NEWS 19.10.2018 10:29
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Source: N1

The entire election process in Bosnia was ridden with irregularities and criminal behaviour that should be investigated, the director of the International Institute for Middle-East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES), Zijad Becirovic, told N1 on Friday.

“When we review the entire election process, it was ridden with irregularities and in a lot of aspects with criminal actions that should be prosecuted,” Becirovic said of the October 7 general eleciton.

He said that ballots were being printed without observers from certain parties present and that those ballots were not marked with serial numbers. Everything points to the election results being questionable throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, Becirovic said, stressing that this is especially true in the Serb-dominated semi-autonomous entity of Republika Srpska.

The elections “do not reflect the true will” of the people, he said. The number of 500,000 invalid ballots on all Government levels is worrying, as this amounts to nearly eight per cent of the total number of ballots, while the European standard is about one per cent, he said.

“We have a Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina which should, based on our conversation here and others as well, initiate an investigation,” he said, adding that officials from the Central Election Commission should be questioned and that “they think that they are untouchable and that it will all just pass.”

“The elected representative for the seat of the Bosniak member of the Presidency came in third, according to all analysis and questionnaires,” he said.

“Crime in Bosnia and Herzegovina is huge. It is in all segments of society. Maybe only Macedonia was more corrupt and criminal than Bosnia until Zoran Zaev came to power,” he stressed.

He also criticised opposition parties over their inaction to the perceived election fraud.

“If the opposition is prepared to never be the winner of the elections and to only participate in the process and in this way legitimise and legalise the process, then the opposition is the problem,” he said.

Becirovic said that opposition parties are now negotiating coalitions on cantonal levels, while “they have forgotten the fraud and electoral thievery that was done in the election process.”

“That is not on the level of a serious opposition which is prepared to confront serious problems and confront those with those in power,” he said, adding that the main ethnicity-based parties, the Party for Democratic Action (SDA), the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) and the Croat Democratic Union (HDZ) are the “absolute masters of life and death in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

“They (opposition parties) are only trying to gain power at the Canton level, and that will be their biggest success. That is absolutely wrong,” Becirovic concluded.