Bakir Izetbegovic, who campaigned for dialogue between Bosnia’s deeply divided ethnic groups, is in the lead for the Muslim spot in Bosnia’s tripartite presidency, partial results showed Monday.
Izetbegovic, the 54-year old son of Bosnia’s wartime Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic, won 34.24 percent of votes, based on 74.8 percent of ballots counted, the electoral commission said.
He was trailed by Bosnian media mogul Fahrudin Radoncic at 30.46 percent, while the outgoing Muslim member of the presidency, nationalist Haris Silajdzic, was third with 25.64 percent.
Izetbegovic’s father is best remembered as the president of Bosnia during the bloody Bosnian war of the early 1990s, but Bakir is determined Sunday’s vote should herald a new beginning based on compromise amongst the country’s still-feuding ethnic groups.
“I am convinced that compromise will bring success because the international community wants it and … and because 90 percent of Bosnia’s citizens want it,” Izetbegovic told AFP in an recent interview.
“The time of conflict is past us … we need to try dialogue.”
The process of reforms in Bosnia “has been stalled for four years… and the time has come to end that negative trend, to change the course,” Izetbegovic insisted.
The current Croat member of the presidency Zeljko Komsic won another four year term with 58.27 percent of the vote but among Bosnian Serb candidates it was a tight race.
Outgoing member hardline Bosnian Serb nationalist Nebojsa Radmanovic won 49.95 percent of votes but his main rival, the more moderate Mladen Ivanic, was right behind with 47.02 percent.
The partial preliminary results for the presidency indicated a possible power shake-up that many voters and the international community have been hoping for.
Bosnia has been politically deadlocked since 2006 which has halted government reforms seen as crucial for the countries EU integration.
Voters on Sunday elected the central presidency, the central parliament and assemblies for the two entities. In the Serb-run region, Republika Srpska, they also voted for a president, while in the another entity, the Muslim-Croat Federation voters chose district assemblies.
The turnout was 56.28 percent, highest since 2002, the electoral commission said.