Referendum in Bosnia

Sunday, 25 September, 2016 - 11:30

The Bosnian Serbs vote on Sunday in a referendum over a disputed national holiday.

The referendum, on whether to mark Jan. 9 as "Statehood Day" in the Serb Republic part of Bosnia, will be the first since a 1992 plebiscite on secession from then-Yugoslavia that ignited three years of ethnic war in which 100,000 were killed.

Polling stations across the Bosnian Serb-dominated region opened at 0700 a.m. (0500 GMT) and will close at 1900 (1700 GMT). Organizers said the first preliminary results were expected within 48 hours after the vote.

The Sarajevo-based Constitutional Court has ruled that the holiday would be illegal because it coincides with a Serbian Orthodox Christian holiday and so discriminates against Muslim Bosniaks and Catholic Croats living in the Serb Republic. The court also banned the referendum.

Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik met with Russian president Vladimir Putin last week. Both sides discussed issues of Serb Republic.

United States brokered the Dayton treaty that still effected on ex-Yugoslavia countries, Bosnia officially has limited sovereignty.