BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Parliamentary Chamber: Predstavnicki dom

ELECTIONS HELD IN 2000

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Chamber:
  Predstavnicki dom


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  11 November 2000


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in the House of Representatives on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.


Background and outcome of elections:

  On 27 September 2000, the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) announced the start of the 2000 general election campaign. The State Parliament had failed to adopt the country's election law in 2000, and so the OSCE organised and supervised the polls, as it had in previous post-war elections.

Approximately 2.5 million citizens were eligible to cast ballots in the 11 November 2000 elections, the third since the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement in December 1995.

At stake were the presidency of the Republika Srpska, all the seats in the State Parliament, and all the seats in the legislative assemblies in the Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation and officials of the Federation's 10 cantonal assemblies. Under the Dayton Peace Agreement, the country is divided into a Muslim-Croat Federation and a Serb republic (the Republika Srpska), loosely tied together by a federal Parliament and a three-member Presidency.

Eighteen political parties ran for the 42 seats in the lower house of the State Parliament, the House of Representatives: 28 elected from the Federation and 14 from the Republika Srpska. Total turnout was estimated at some 64.4 per cent in these elections, which were monitored by 750 international observers and hundreds of local supervisors.

The opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP), led by Mr Zlatko Lagumdzija and backed openly by the international community, was the only major party fielding candidates in all three ethnic regions. During the campaign it promised economic development, legal reform and ethnic tolerance.

The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) leader and member of the joint State presidency, Mr Ante Jelavic, openly said that he no longer recognised the authority of the Western officials running Bosnia. The international community threatened to punish the party after he called for actions it said ran counter to the 1995 Agreement. The party organised an illegal referendum on the status of Croats within Bosnia. The OSCE said that aside from the Croat referendum, the only serious voting irregularities were in the Bosnian Serb town of Srebrenica, where the Serb Democratic Party (SDS), founded by indicted war criminal Mr Radovan Karadzic, was alleged to have intimidated voters.

The international community, which has 20,000 NATO-led peacekeepers deployed in the country, had expected that the polls, which followed democratic changes in Croatia and Yugoslavia, would reject the aggressive nationalism that led the country during the 1992-95 war. In the event, the Serb, Croat and Muslim nationalist parties all scored well.

Indeed, final results showed that Serbs and Croats had stood by their nationalist parties, while Muslims had dispersed their vote between nationalist, centrist and leftist parties. The three nationalist parties (SDS, HDZ, SDA) had formed the central Bosnian government since the 1998 polls, but after the November 2000 elections, they lost the majority in the lower house of the State Parliament, as they now have only 19 seats between them (as against 27 in the outgoing Parliament) and were not able to form the government among themselves. The multi-ethnic Social Democratic Party (SDP) won the most seats, nine, as compared with eight for the (Muslim) Party of Democratic Action (SDA), six for the SDS, and five for the hard-line HDZ.

The nationalist SDS is the single largest party in Bosnia's Serb republic with 36 per cent of the vote, but it failed to gain the absolute majority in the Republika Srpska Parliament. Its candidate for the entity's presidency, Mr Mirko Sarovic, won 50.1 per cent of the votes while his opponent, Western-backed Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Milorad Dodik, won 25.7 per cent. In the other autonomous half of the country, Croat and Muslim nationalists lost the absolute majority in the Federation's Assembly but the Croat HDZ led in five out of ten cantons.

On 29 December 2000, the lower house of the State Parliament held its first sitting and elected Mr Sead Avdic, a moderate Muslim, as its new Speaker.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (11 November 2000): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 2 508 349
Voters 1 597 805 (64 %)

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group %
Social Democratic Party (SDP) 22.00
Party of Democratic Action (SDA) 20.00
Serb Democratic Party (SDS) 15.00
Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) 12.00
Party for Bosnia-Herzegovina (SBiH) 12.00
Party of Democratic Progress (PDP) 5.00
Democratic People's Union (NDZ) 2.00
Pensioners' Party 2.00
New Croat Initiative (NHI) 2.00
Others 8.00

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Social Democratic Party (SDP) 9
Party of Democratic Action (SDA) 8
Serb Democratic Party (SDS) 6
Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) 5
Party for Bosnia-Herzegovina (SBiH) 5
Party of Democratic Progress (PDP) 2
Democratic People's Union (NDZ) 1
Pensioners' Party 1
New Croat Initiative (NHI) 1
Others 4

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 39
Women: 3
Percent of women: 7.14%


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Copyright 2000 Inter-Parliamentary Union