Bosnia-Herzegovina: Nationalist parties win parliamentary election

  
Serb candidate Milorad Dodik casts his vote at a polling station during the general elections in Laktasi, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina on October 7.
Croat, Muslim and Serb nationalist parties won Bosnia's parliamentary election, State Election Commission preliminary results showed on Monday.
With the legislature poised to be split down ethnic lines, the result could hamper the reform process required for progress towards EU and NATO membership.
Results in detail
  • Pro-Russia Serb leader Milorad Dodik won the Serb seat in Bosnia-Herzegovina's tripartite presidency.
  • Dodik's SNSD emerged as the strongest party in Bosnia's parliamentary election.
  • Sefik Dzaferovic won the Bosniak, or Bosnian Muslim, seat in the inter-ethnic presidency. His SDA party secured the most votes in Bosnia's autonomous Bosniak-Croat Federation and its Bosniak-dominated cantons.
  • Moderate Zeljko Komsic beat his nationalist rival Dragan Covic for the Croat seat. A coalition led by Covic's HDZ party, however, won the most votes of Croats in the Bosnian parliament and in the majority Croat cantons.
'Republika Srspka, my first priority'
Dodik claimed victory on Sunday evening.
"My first priority will be the position of the Serb people and of the Republika Srspka," Dodik said, referring to the autonomous region where he previously served as regional president. "I believe that Bosnia-Herzegovina also may progress if everyone is respected."
Bosnia map
Complex structure: Since the signing of the Dayton Accords in 1995, Bosnia has been divided into two entities: a predominantly Serbian area called Republika Srpska, comprising 49 percent of Bosnia's territory, and a Bosniak-Croat federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is further divided into 10 autonomous cantons.
Who is Milorad Dodik? Dodik, the longtime leader of the Serb-majority Republika Srpska region, is known for his pro-Russia stance. He is a vocal proponent of secession of the Serb Republic and its integration with Serbia. He has prevented Bosnia-Herzegovina from recognizing Kosovo, and opposes joining NATO.
Deep ethnic divisions: The election result deals a blow to hopes of bridging Bosnia's ethnic divide after the war that killed 100,000 people. The victory of nationalist parties with opposing views could further deepen ethnic division and slow Bosnia's progress towards European Union membership and NATO integration.