The turnout in Sunday's referendum in the Bosnian Serb entity, Republika Srpska (RS) was 55.75% and 99.91% voted "yes", the RS commission implementing the referendum said on Monday.

Based on the results, the commission established that the referendum was valid because a majority of citizens, 677,000, voted "yes", commission chairman Sinisa Karan told a press conference in Banja Luka, adding that these were preliminary data and that the final results would be adopted by the RS parliament.

Despite the Sarajevo-based Constitutional Court's recent ban on this plebiscite, voting took place at 1,885 polling stations in the entity and 28 abroad, with 680,116 people exercising their voting right. The referendum question was whether they supported that January 9 should continue to be celebrated as RS Day, although the Constitutional Court ruled last year that the date is unconstitutional as it discriminates against Croats and Bosniaks as constituent peoples in the entity.

According to a census compiled by the RS authorities for the referendum, there were 1,219,395 eligible voters, but the credibility of the census is doubtful as, according to the latest population census in Bosnia and Herzegovina, RS has 1,228,423 inhabitants.

Karan said the census compiled by the entity authorities was "the most relevant" and more precise than the Bosnian population census and voter register. "Those are citizens who, as of July 15, have residence in RS and are automatically eligible to vote," he said.

Bosniak officials in the RS authorities insist the data on the outcome of the referendum are forged, claiming that voting was irregular and that everything was done to make the turnout seem above 50%, which is required by law for a referendum to be declared valid.

RS Vice President Ramiz Salkic, who represents Bosniaks, said the referendum failed because of an insufficient turnout. "The results they are publishing are a matter of stretching and framing," the Fena news agency quoted him as saying. "It's all a big farce and a fraud," he said, calling on the international community to take resolute action against the organisers because the Bosnian Constitutional Court banned the referendum.

Salkic warned that, as soon as the results were announced, RS President Milorad Dodik and other Serb officials announced the continuation of the entity's separation from Bosnia. "They announced it clearly last night in their statements, that this is the first referendum and there will be more... Both domestic institutions and the Office of the High Representative must strongly react so that this separatism is stopped."

Dodik on Sunday evening expressed satisfaction with "the success of the referendum" and stated that one should not rule out a similar plebiscite to be held on the status of the entity when time ripened for such a move. Dodik said at a news conference that Sunday's referendum "has been about the Day of RS and not about its status."

An angry Dodik answered the question whether there would be a referendum on the secession of the entity, claiming that "when the time comes, we will talk about that topic." He also underlined that this was also regulated in the programme of his SNSD party. 

Bosnia and Herzegovina's collective presidency chairman, Bakir Izetbegovic, who is the Bosnian Muslim leader, said on Sunday that Dodik and others engaged in the holding of the unlawful referendum on the entity's holiday would have to face the consequences of that "anti-constitutional and illegal act".

Izetbegovic said the referendum was a notorious example of violation of the Dayton peace accords and that the Bosnian judicial authorities as well as the international community should respond to this insistence of the Bosnian Serb authorities on the referendum.

He also described Dodik's behaviour as irrational stubbornness.

Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) president Andrej Plenkovic, who is the Croatian PM-Designate hopeful, said recently he was against the disputed referendum on the entity's holiday because it could lead to a referendum on the Serb entity's secession from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"I'm against that referendum. It could be the first step towards a referendum that would lead to the separation of RS from BiH, which isn't good. That's also the uniform position of the international community, Croatia and all key political stakeholders in the country," Plenkovic told reporters a few days ago.

Related stories

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.