Slightly more than 3.2 million registered voters will have the opportunity to elect new municipal and town councils as well as municipal heads and mayors in 141 communities, including Brcko District, in local elections to be held in Bosnia and Herzegovina on Sunday, October 2.
Elections will once again not be held only in Mostar, where Bosniak and Croat parties have been unsuccessfully trying for years to agree on a new city statute that would be in line with the country's constitution.
A total of 3,136 councillors, 131 municipal heads and ten mayors will be elected in Sunday's election.
The Central Election Commission (SIP) has approved the right to participate in the vote for 102 political parties, 103 coalitions and more than 130 independent candidates.
Polls and analyses show that despite the huge number of parties and candidates who have registered for the elections, the real fight is to be waged only between a dozen of them, gathered in different coalitions.
In Croat-dominated municipalities, the HDZ BiH party is expected to score a convincing victory. Its main rival is the HDZ 1990 party, even though in some municipalities, for example in the Serb entity of Republika Srpska, the two parties participate in elections as a coalition in order to ensure at least the minimum representation of Croats, which are an absolute minority in those areas.
In the Serb entity, the main battle is to be waged between a bloc led by Milorad Dodik's SNSD party and a bloc led by the Serb Democratic Party (SDS).
After general elections in 2014, the former bloc stayed in power at the entity level and the latter managed to enter the state-level government.
Sunday's vote will show the current balance of power between those two blocs and how much the referendum Dodik's authorities held on September 25, defying rulings by the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has contributed to his party's popularity and influence among voters.
The biggest change among Bosniak political parties, compared to earlier elections, is a coalition between Bakir Izebegovic's SDA party and Fahrudin Radoncic's Alliance For A Better Future (SBB). In the 2014 election the two parties were bitter political rivals.