Nationalist candidates from Bosnia’s Croat, Muslim and Serbian voting blocs were in the lead Monday morning with more than half of the votes counted in general elections for the nation’s three-seat presidency, the Associated Press reports. Bakir Izetbegović, incumbent president and leader of the Muslim Bosniak bloc, appears to have already secured re-election.
He is the son of late Party of Democratic Action leader Alija Izetbegović, who served as president during the Bosnia’s civil war in the early 1990s. By early Monday, Izetbegović had acquired 33.16 percent of processed votes, while chief opponent Fahrudin Radončić amassed 26.67 percent, Al-Jazeera reports.
Izetbegović, who has held his seat since 2010, has vowed to lead a more unified government despite tensions among Bosnia’s three main ethnic groups. He declined on Monday to discuss specifics, however, regarding his proposed coalition.
“Those who are ready will make an almost identical program about the most essential issues like moving Bosnia and Herzegovina out of a reform standstill and putting it on the path of EU and NATO integration, put up a determined fight against corruption and crime,” he said.
Dragan Čović leads the race for the Croat seat. He seeks to establish a separate Croat state within Bosnia, Reuters reports. Meanwhile, Željka Cvijanović, who leads the Serbian race by about 1,000 votes, seeks to dissolve the Bosnian state entirely.
All candidates seek economic progress for Bosnia, which is regarded as one of Europe’s poorest nations. The country’s unemployment rate officially stands at 44 percent, while corruption costs taxpayers a reported $950 million per year.
Tensions between nationalist groups in Bosnia resulted in the civil war that killed more than 100,000 in the early 1990s. If the current voting trends hold, these parties would once again control Bosnia’s fate.
The Bosnian presidential election’s final results are expected by Monday.