At Sunday's municipal elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina, coalitions led by the leading national parties scored convincing victories, according to the first unofficial results released from campaign headquarters after 10 pm.
The coalitions in question are the Croatian National Alliance (HNS) led by the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ BiH), a Bosniak coalition comprising the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) and the Alliance for a Better Future, and a coalition led by Milorad Dodik's Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) in the Serb entity.
HDZ BiH vice president Borjana Kristo said they won in 18 municipalities, whereas before they were in power in 14. She said they expected to win in Stolac, where voting was stopped because of an incident.
The Bosniak coalition said it won it at least 33 of the 74 municipalities in the Croat-Bosniak Federation entity. SDA president Bakir Izetbegovic said the elections were held in a mainly democratic atmosphere and that the events in Stolac should be thoroughly investigated.
Social Democratic Party (SDP) president Nermin Niksic said the SDP won in seven Federation municipalities.
In the Serb entity, the SNSD scored a convincing victory. Dodik declared a "magnificent victory", saying the party won in 11 more municipalities than before.
The HNS, which gathers the biggest Croat parties, called for prosecuting the attacker on Election Commission members in Stolac, saying it was an attack on a state institution in order to change citizens' will by force.
Central Election Commission chair Ahmet Santic confirmed that a candidate running in elections physically assaulted the chair of the municipal voter committee in Stolac. "Two members of the voter committee had to seek medical help," Santic said, adding that police had to intervene.
The media in Sarajevo quoted anonymous Bosniak sources as saying that the incident was caused by a decision to allow persons using Croatian passports as their ID papers to vote in elections even though SIP had decided that voters could vote only if they presented an identification document issued by the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This was the reason why Salmir Kaplan, a Bosniak candidate for Stolac municipal head, physically attacked and injured the chair of the local voter committee, Ivan Peric.
SIP member Vlado Rogic said that after the incident, persons wearing masks took away some of the ballot boxes, thus violating the legality of the voting process.
Stolac is one of the problematic municipalities in the country where tensions between local Croats and Bosniaks have persisted since the end of the war in 1995.