Bosnian Muslims have voted down a bid to put a Serb mayor in control of Srebrenica for the first time since the massacre of 8,000 Muslims in the town by Bosnian Serb forces in 1995.
Once predominantly Muslim, Srebrenica was the site of the worst mass killing on European soil since the Second World War, when Bosnian Serb forces killed Muslim men and boys near the end of the country’s 1992-95 war.
Barely 15 per cent of the town’s 27,600 pre-war Muslim residents, known as Bosniaks, have returned, leaving Serbs the majority.
A Bosnian Serb party, which disputes a United Nations ruling that the Srebrenica killings constituted genocide, launched a bid to win the post of mayor in the local election on 7 October.
But Camil Durakovic, the Bosniak candidate, led a drive to register some 2,000 absent voters, and a final vote count at the weekend showed him to be the victor.
“If it wasn’t for this registration of voters, I would have never won,” Mr Durakovic said. “From today, I’ll be the mayor of all citizens of Srebrenica.”
A coalition of Serb parties has complained of irregularities and urged a partial repeat of the vote.