Photograph: Photo by Brian Eager, used under CC BY

Bosnian Serb authorities will be denied access to the central voter register which is necessary for their plan to hold the referendum set for September 25, the Central Election Commission (SIP) of Bosnia and Herzegovina said on Thursday.  

"With a majority of votes we decided to refuse, as unfounded and impermissible, the request by the Serb entity referendum commission to be granted access to the voter register," SIP chair Ahmet Santic told reporters in Sarajevo.

The decision was made by a narrow majority of votes and was supported by four of seven SIP members based on an assessment that the ad hoc commission for the referendum in the Serb entity was not authorised to manage the voter register.

Branko Petric, a Serb member of SIP, expressed dissatisfaction with the decision.

"The decision was made by outvoting, which is becoming common practice in SIP and that's not good," said Petric.

SIP's decision can be appealed against before the Appeals Chamber of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, whose ruling is final and binding.

The Serb entity government's plan to hold a referendum in which voters would decide if they want January 9 to continue to be commemorated as Republika Srpska Day, contrary to a ruling by the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina which has declared the holiday as unconstitutional, has caused a deep political crisis in the country.

Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik threatened on Wednesday that the referendum, which challenges the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, would definitely be held on September 25 regardless of negative reactions and calls by the international community to scrap it.

He said that the entity government would compile the voter register on its own if SIP decided not to provide it.

SIP today also announced the beginning of a month-long election campaign for local elections, to be held in Bosnia and Herzegovina on October 2.

Santic called on all registered parties and candidates to conduct fair campaigns and avoid language fomenting tension or hate.

A total of 103 political parties, 106 coalitions and 171 independent candidates are running in elections for municipal councils, municipal heads and mayors.

Latest news

Fire at asylum seeker accommodation in Sweden

A fire overnight at an accommodation centre for asylum seekers in Sweden caused injuries to at least a dozen residents, police said on Sunday.

Analysts: Croatia's economy rises 3.3%, hitting new high since 2008

Croatia's economy expanded 3.3 per cent in the last quarter of 2016, compared to Q4 2015, according to projections of economic analysts polled by Hina, who ascribe this record high rise to increasing personal consumption, higher industrial output rates and growing investments.

Fate of German hostage in Philippines unknown as deadline passes

The fate of a 70-year-old German man held captive for three months in the southern Philippines was unknown after a deadline for a ransom to be paid passed Sunday, a military spokesman said.

Dengue fever risk growing in Thailand, authorities say

Dengue fever is posing a greater threat in Thailand, particularly in the southern region, the country's Disease Control Department said Sunday, as the number of people killed by the mosquito-borne disease this year stands at six.

Brexit fears plague locals and expats alike in southern Spain

As Britain's departure from the EU approaches, the anxiety is most palpable on Spain's Costa del Sol, where so many Britons live. What will happen to the economy if the expats one day have to leave?

'La La Land,' politics to share spotlight at Oscars

The Oscars will take the stage Sunday for an awards ceremony whose outcome feels like a foregone conclusion - a win, or 10, for "La La Land."

Suspected drunken driver injures 28 at New Orleans Mardi Gras parade

A pick up truck driven by a suspected drunken driver plowed into a crowd of spectators at a Mardi Gras parade in the US city of New Orleans on Saturday, injuring at least 28 people.

"Moonlight" big winner at independent film awards

The coming-of-age drama "Moonlight" won six prizes including best feature at the 32nd Film Independent Spirit Awards Saturday, claiming the Hollywood spotlight on the eve of the Oscars.

Trump: I won't attend White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

US President Donald Trump said Saturday that he does not plan to attend the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year.

US Democratic Party chooses Tom Perez to be next party chief

The US Democratic Party elected former labour secretary Tom Perez as its next party chief at a meeting in Atlanta on Saturday.

73-year-old man dies after car ramming in Germany

A 73-year-old male pedestrian died from his injuries after being run over when a car rammed into people in the south-western town of Heidelberg, police said Saturday.

Syrian government vows retribution for Homs attacks that killed 42

The Syrian government vowed retribution for synchronized attacks on Saturday in Homs City that left 42 security personnel dead and reportedly involved up to six suicide bombers.