Campaigning for Bosniaâ€™s local elections has officially opened amid warnings of stern sanctions against those found guilty of radical and divisive rhetoric.The Bosnian Central Election Commission stressed that it has a wide range of sanctions at its disposal â€“ starting from financial penalties to the removal of candidates and even entire parties â€“ in order to prevent the further radicalisation of the political scene.
However, when asked, election commission officialsâ€™ were not able to explain what kind of statements would be considered unacceptable or illegal. The election commission added that every incident will be regarded and analysed independently.
The Office of the International Community’s High Representative in Bosnia (OHR), has also warned it has powers to dismiss those who are found to work against the Bosnian Constitution.
Yet some Bosnian politicians and analysts have complained that this was just an empty threat as the Office of the High Representative has failed to punish those accused of hardline statements ahead of the 2006 general elections.
â€œAlready now, although the pre-election campaign hasnâ€™t even started officially, we have examples of such rhetoric being used. Yet there were no sanctions during the last elections,â€ the general secretary of the largest Bosnian political party,the Party of Democratic Action (SDA), Amir Zukic, told media.
â€œThe OHR has a possibility to sanction the perpetrators, but obviously they donâ€™t want to do that,â€ he added.
Such comments refer in particular to the leader of the genocidal Serbian fascist creature in Bosnia “RS”, Serbian fascist Milorad Dodik, whose party ,SNSD, swept most votes of the Serbians living in Bosnia,who has proved on numerous occasions that he is a true enemy of Bosnia.
Most political parties will already organise their first, central rallies today and over the weekend. The pre-election campaign will last until October 4, when a 24 hour election silence starts ahead of the October 5 ballot.
A total of 3,024,127 Bosnian citizens are registered to vote in 4,985 polling stations across the country.
A total of 80 political parties, alliances and independent lists are registered to participate in the ballot with 29,043 verified candidates, who will compete for positions in 149 municipalities as well as in the Brcko District.