In the run-up to the general election which is due to take place in Bosnia and Herzegovina on Sunday, the campaigns have been marred by accusations of possible voter fraud, outside interference, as well as insults and hate speeches by opposing sides. Candidates from Serb, Croat and Bosniak sides have all been found by Transparency International to have attempted to buy votes, either by opening public roads and buildings, or by threatening loss of jobs for those who vote for political rivals. Milorad Dodik, current president of Republika Srpska running for a Serb seat in the BiH presidency, has had to pay a fine of EUR 6,000 for hate speech and almost EUR 3,000 for insults. Vukota Govedarica, Serb Democratic Party’s (SDS) candidate running for the Republika Srpska presidency, was also fined EUR 3,500 by Bosnia’s election commission for his use of hate speech that could incite violence. In addition, both Serbian and Croatian governments have been criticised for interfering in the election. On Tuesday, Serbian foreign minister Ivica Dačić attended the opening of motorway Banja Luka-Doboj alongside Dodik. In his speech, Dačić made remarks that some found controversial. He said Serbia is a guarantor of the Dayton Agreement, which does not interfere in the elections, “but wants to interfere with the survival of the Republika Srpska and the rights of the Serb people.” Two days later, Croatian prime minister and HDZ president Andrej Plenković, was in Mostar giving his full support to Dragan Čović, leader of HDZ-HNS and a candidate for the Croatian seat in Bosnia’s presidency. “The message I have today given to Dragan (Čović) is a message of political support, friendship, political cooperation, the desire to make this election a brilliant, winning achievement, because today we are here primarily as party leaders,” Plenković said in a press release after meeting with Čović.
At the opening of the regional conference against corruption, held in Priština, Hashim Thaci, Kosovo’s president, said that his country has made progress in fighting organised crime and corruption. During this conference, Thaci called on politicians not to put pressure on the justice system.“There is always the possibility to do even more in strengthening of the rule of law, and to work even more professionally. We do know that the fighting of organised crime and corruption is not easy, but we are determined to move ahead”, Thaci said.The president also called on international institutions to support Kosovo’s membership to Interpol. “Accession at Interpol would be beneficial not only for Kosovo, but also for the region”, Thaci said.