Recount Begins In Bosnian Serbs' Elections For President, Vice President

A recount of ballots cast for president and two vice presidents in Republika Srpska during the recent general election in Bosnia-Herzegovina has begun.

Bosnia's Central Election Commission (CIK) issued an order on October 10 to recount all the votes for those positions after irregularities were noticed on election day, October 2, as well as in the days that followed.

The recount is taking place at the main counting center in the capital, Sarajevo.

All accredited observers of political parties, the 31 candidates for the mentioned positions, as well as specially accredited observers of the counting center can attend the recount, which the media may broadcast live.

Both the opposition and the ruling party in Republika Srpska have declared victory in the race for the president.

According to the latest incomplete results published by the CIK, the candidate of the ruling Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, Milorad Dodik, received 291,915 votes. Dodik and his party opposed the recount.

His opponent, Jelena Trivic, who was supported by the Party of Democratic Progress, the Serbian Democratic Party, and the List for Justice and Order of Nebojsa Vukanovic, won 262,969 votes.

The vote counting was suspended under changes to Bosnia's election law imposed by High Representative to Bosnia Christian Schmidt. The changes allow the CIK to stop a vote count at lower levels and order ballots to be counted at the main counting center.

Representatives of the opposition parties welcomed the decision to hold the recount, which they formally requested on October 5 after protests in Banja Luka.

The CIK on October 11 -- a day after it ordered the recount of ballots for the president and two vice presidents of Republika Srpska -- ordered the recount of ballots at 45 polling stations throughout the country. That recount has not yet begun.

Among the irregularities are official election documents that state some candidates received more votes than the party that nominated them, which is impossible. According to voting regulations, votes for an individual candidate must also be entered in the official register as votes for the candidate’s party.

In addition, the disappearance of hundreds of ballots was recorded, while hundreds of thousands of ballots were declared invalid.