A flag dispute has stalled talks on the formation of a new government in Bosnia after an October election reflecting persisting ethnic divisions. Planned talks were canceled Tuesday over a demand by the Bosnian Serb presidency member Milorad Dodik that the flag of the Serb mini-state be displayed alongside Bosnia's national flag in official meetings.
Dodik, who is known for his denial of the Bosnian genocide, has advocated separation of the Serbs from Bosnia. Dodik's flag request was rejected by the Muslim and Croat presidency members who view it as a violation of Bosnia's unity. About 1.7 million voters took part in the presidential and parliamentary elections on Oct. 7, choosing members of Bosnia's tripartite inter-ethnic presidency, consisting of a Bosniak, a Croat and a Serb, and lawmakers for parliament's lower house.
More than two decades after a war in which 100,000 people died, leading Serb, Croat and Muslim Bosniak parties campaigned on nationalist tickets, reviving wartime pledges while failing to offer clearly defined economic or political visions. The Bosnian political system was built with exaggerated checks and balances through U.S.-brokered peace talks, which ended the 1992-1995 war.