Bosnia sets local polls for October 4, but Mostar excluded again - Metro US

Bosnia sets local polls for October 4, but Mostar excluded again

FILE PHOTO: The Old Bridge is pictured in Mostar

SARAJEVO (Reuters) – Bosnia will hold local elections on Oct. 4 but Mostar, an ethnically divided town in the south of the Balkan country where no vote has been held since 2008, will be exempted again, the state election authority said on Thursday.

Nearly 3.4 million voters will choose town and municipal councils and mayors in Bosnia’s two autonomous regions – the Bosniak-Croat Federation and the Serb Republic – as well as in the neutral northern district of Brcko.

The election commission (CIK) has not set deadlines for different phases of the voting yet because it still does not have the necessary funding, CIK Secretary General Goran Miskovic said in a commission meeting broadcast on YouTube.

The central government has not yet passed a 2020 budget and has been operating based on quarterly interim financing arrangements. The country’s presidency is expected to approve the budget in June, including the funding for the vote.

The deadlock in Mostar, divided between Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) and Croats since the end of Bosnia’s 1992-95 war, stems from the authorities’ failure to enforce a 2010 constitutional court decision on power-sharing there.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled last October in favour of a Bosnian opposition politician who had sued the state for failing to hold local elections in Mostar.

The court gave the Balkan country six months to amend its election law so a vote could be held in Mostar, but parliament has not sat for the last two months due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

(Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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