A coalition of Bosnian Croat and Bosniak parties plan to contest the October elections in Bosnia's mainly Serbian entity Republika Srpska together, to maximise their chances.
A coalition of non-Serbian parties, "Together for Bosnia", which gathers nine Bosnian Croat and Bosniak parties, will contest the October general elections in Republika Srpska together, representing what they describe as a pro-Bosnian platform. They intend to “fight against discrimination and fight for the rights of Bosniaks and Croats in this entity, and we call on other political subjects with similar interest to improve our strength in the [entity] assembly," a press release issued last week said. The bloc aims to protect the rights of returnees to Republika Srpska, Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats, including their language rights.
The parties taking part in the joint bloc are the Party for Bosnia, the Croatian Democratic Union 1990, HDZ 1990, the Party of Democratic Action, SDA, the Croatian bloc in Bosnia, the Answer Movement, the Bosniak Movement, the Party of Posavina and the Bosnian Herzegovina Party. The SDA, as the country's main Bosniak party, is likely to be the hub of the coalition. The others are much smaller parties.
Ivana Maric, a Sarajevo-based political analyst told BIRN, said it was hard to estimate the coalition's potential, “as it is still unknown who the candidates will be”.
The Social Democratic Party in Republika Srpska is also working on plan to form another coalition of left-oriented parties, with the Democratic Front, the People's Alliance, Our Party and other parties, she noted.
“If they form a coalition, that will divide their voters [in the RS]. What we do know for now is that there is no possibility that they all go under one coalition so, in the end, there will be at least three coalitions in Republika Srpska,” Maric explained.
At the moment, the "Homeland" coalition in the assembly of Republika Srpska gathers five Bosniaks and Croat MPs, three from the SDA, one from the Alliance for Better Future and one from the Croatian Party of Rights.
The "Alliance for Changes" coalition, comprising the Party of Democratic Progress, PDP, the Serbian Democratic Party, SDS, and the People's Democratic Movement, NDP, the opposition bloc from Republika Srpska, has already announced its candidates.
The SDS, the strongest member of the opposition alliance, has said its party leader, Vukota Govedarica, will run for the post of president of Republika Srpska on February 25.
The ruling coalition, comprising the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, the Democratic People’s Alliance and the Socialist Party has not presented its candidates for the various posts.
RS President Milorad Dodik had been expected to run for the Serbian seat on Bosnia's state presidency as the candidate of the entity's current ruling coalition.
On February 23, he announced that his party would field candidates for both the Serbian seat on the state presidency and for the post of president of Republika Srpska.
At the same time, one member of the ruling coalition, the Democratic People’s Alliance, has said it wants to name its own candidate for one of these posts. Final details are expected to be revealed later this week.
Republika Srpska has a total population of 1,228,423, of which 81.5 per cent are Serbs, 14 per cent are Bosniaks and 2 per cent are Croats, according to the census from 2013. Another 2.2 per cent are categorised as “others”.