Bosnia and Herzegovina is braced for Sunday's elections to decide on the national presidency and other elected positions in the complex network of institutions established in the accords that ended the Bosnian War. The 1992-95 war among Serbs, Croats and Muslims during the breakup of Yugoslavia left more than 100,000 people dead and millions homeless. Bosnia today consists of a Serb entity, a Muslim-Croat entity and a central government that holds both together loosely. Voters are choosing the three members of the Bosnian presidency, the president of the Bosnian Serb entity, assembly seats at all levels and cantonal authorities.
The results could determine whether Bosnia is strengthened as a unified, multiethnic country or fragments again along ethnic lines. The vote is seen as a test of whether a place ravaged by ethnic war and unemployment will move closer to European Union and NATO membership or remain mired by historical resentments.
The election's main focus has been on Bosnian Serb President Milorad Dodik's bid to win a seat in the multiethnic presidency. Dodik, an advocate of the Serb region's secession from Bosnia, has always rejected rulings by two war crimes courts, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and The International Court of Justice (ICJ) that the atrocity qualified as genocide.
The country with a population of 3.5 million remains politically and economically stuck. More than one-third of its people are unemployed, and the lack of jobs has sent tens of thousands of young Bosnians elsewhere to look for work since the last election in 2014.