Several thousand Bosnian Croat nationalist supporters on Thursday protested the election of a moderate politician to the Croat seat in Bosnia’s three-person presidency. The crowd marched through the ethnically divided southern town of Mostar holding banners reading “Not my president” and “RIP democracy” to protest Zeljko Komsic’s victory. Bosnia’s presidency also has a Muslim and a Serb member. A peace deal that ended Bosnia’s 1992-95 ethnic war created a Muslim-Croat region and a Serb region held together in a central government. Komsic advocates strengthening Bosnia’s unity. Nationalist are disputing his win in an election Sunday, saying he was backed by Muslim voters and does not represent Croats.
Persisting ethnic divisions in Bosnia have held the country back from advancing toward EU and NATO membership since the war.
The protesters in Mostar also lit candles outside the local office of the Croat presidency. The office was established by Komsic’s predecessor, Dragan Covic, the Croatian Democratic Union party candidate who lost Sunday’s vote.