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Thousands of people protested in northern Bosnia this week, accusing a pro-Russian Bosnian Serb leader of rigging the ballot during the Balkan country’s general elections earlier this month, Euronews reported Monday.
Sunday’s demonstrations were the second in a week to take place in Bosnia and Herzegovina following the Oct. 2 elections. The polls were held for all levels of government in both the Serb-dominated and Bosniak-Croat parts of the country, as well as for the joint central institutions.
Although the final results have yet to be announced, leading Bosnian Serb politician Milorad Dodik claimed victory in the election for the post of the presidency of the Republika Srpska – the country’s Serb entity.
But Bosnian Serb opposition politicians and their supporters countered that their candidate, Jelena Trivic, won. They allege that Dodik rigged the vote and called for a recount, as well as an investigation into vote rigging.
Meanwhile, the country’s central election authorities have ordered the unsealing of ballot boxes and recounts at approximately 1,000 polling locations across Bosnia and Herzegovina, citing reports of irregularities.
Dodik denied the accusations of rigging the elections.
The powerful Bosnian Serb leader has ruled in the Republika Srpska for years, despite being sanctioned by the West for advocating the separation of the Serb entity from the rest of Bosnia.
Russia has backed Dodik, raising fears in the West that Moscow may try to create more unrest in volatile Bosnia in order to divert attention away from the conflict in Ukraine.
The Balkan nation remains plagued by corruption and ethnic tensions nearly three decades after the end of the Bosnian war in 1995 which killed more than 100,000 people.