Bosnia delays local polls for a month due to lack of funding

SARAJEVO, May 23 (Reuters) - Bosnia's election authorities said on Saturday that local elections previously set for Oct. 4 would be postponed until Nov. 15 due to a lack of funding.

In the elections, nearly 3.4 million voters are due to choose town and municipal councils and mayors in Bosnia's two autonomous regions - the Bosniak-Croat Federation and the Serb Republic - as well as in the neutral Brcko district.

The election commission has not been able to set deadlines for the voting because the national government has not passed a 2020 budget and failed to allocate necessary funds by a deadline that expired on Friday.

"The elections could not be held in accordance with the election law and will be put off to November 15," the election commission said.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said: "By conditioning the approval of resources... based on political disputes over the composition of the central election commission, the authorities risk undermining the constitutional order and the functioning of democracy."

To hold elections, Bosnia's would need some 4.5 million euros ($4.91 million), half of it provided by the central government and the remainder by local communities.

The government has been operating under quarterly interim financing arrangements. It is expected to approve the budget by the end of May, including the funding for the vote.

($1 = 0.9174 euros) (Reporting by Maja Zuvela. Editing by Jane Merriman)

05/23/2020 10:00

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