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Bosnian City to Hold First Elections in 12 Years

FILE - A woman crosses the old bridge in Mostar, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jan. 20, 2013.
FILE - A woman crosses the old bridge in Mostar, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jan. 20, 2013.

The Bosnian city of Mostar will hold its first local elections in 12 years December 20, election authorities announced Thursday.

While local elections in Bosnia were pushed back to November 15 because of budgetary delays, the ethnically divided city was at first excluded from holding elections at all.

Croat and Bosniak ruling parties were not enforcing a power-sharing agreement laid out in a 2010 constitutional court decision, blocking city councilor elections for over a decade.

The two sides made a deal under international mediation in June, which Parliament approved last week. On December 20, Mostar will join other Bosnian cities in holding elections — as long as Parliament passes its long-delayed 2020 budget, which includes election funding.

Mostar, Bosnia’s fifth-largest city, has been divided between a Bosniak minority and Croat majority since the end of the Bosnian war in 1995.

Thursday’s announcement came two weeks after Bosnia marked the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica Massacre. Over 8,300 Bosniak men and boys were killed when the Bosnian Serb army attacked Srebrenica, then a United Nations “safe area.”

In Mostar, residents flocked to the iconic Stari Most bridge to throw white lilies into the Neretva River as a tribute to the dead, the Turkish Anadolu Agency reported.

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