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Serb mini-state chooses "ceremonial" leader

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Serb mini-state chooses "ceremonial" leader


More than a million Bosnian Serbs vote for a new President today, the ceremonial head of their mini-state, Republika Srpska. Along with the Croat-Muslim Federation, it makes up Bosnia-Hercegovina, which has just set out on the long road to European Union membership.

Republika Srpska lies around the northern and eastern edges of Bosnia. The election was called after the sudden death of former President Milan Jelic, two months ago.

There are no opinion polls, but the favourite candidate is thought to be Rajko Kuzmanovic. The 76-year old enjoys the support of the most powerful man in the Serb mini-state, Prime Minister Milorad Dodik, the head of Kuzmanovic’s Independent Social Democrats. Roughly one in two Bosnian Serbs are thought to support his party.

The former Prime Minister Mladen Ivanic is in the running, but may suffer from a colourful past, including accusations of embezzlement. The youngest man in the list is Ognjen Tadic. The 33-year old comes from the Serb Democratic Party, founded by fugitive war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic.

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