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Photograph: HINA/ Damir SENČAR /ds

Polling stations opened in Bosnia and Herzegovina at 7 am on Sunday for local elections at which slightly more than 3.2 million registered voters have the right to elect new local authorities.

The voting will last until 7 pm.

Voters will elect 131 municipal heads and ten mayors as well as 3,163 members of municipal and town councils and the assembly of Brcko District.

More than 30,000 candidates, nominated by 102 political parties and 103 coalitions, are running in the elections as are 171 independent candidates.

Residents of the southern city of Mostar, around 92,000 of them, will not participate in the local elections because the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2011 abolished some of the provisions of the city statute that made it possible for smaller city districts to elect the same number of members of the city council as districts with a larger number of residents.

Since then, Croat and Bosniak politicians have been negotiating, unsuccessfully, a new election model for Mostar. Due to the failure of those talks, there is no legal basis for organising new local elections in that city.

As many as 70,000 monitors, including 300 from abroad, are observing the elections.

The turnout by 11 am was 16.17%. 

The Central Election Commission  (SIP) is expected to announce preliminary election results at midnight.

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