550 Candidates Run for 138 Municipal Mayor Positions

Zdravko Krsmanović, kandidat za načelnika Općine Foča Foto: CIN

Zdravko Krsmanović, a candidate for Foča municipal mayor position. (Credit: CIN)

Vukašin Vojinović,a candidate of the Vozi Miško coalition for municipal mayor position in Laktaši municipality, said that the jail time in a CV is a must for a wannabe mayor. “Tito was in jail too”, Vojinović told to the Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN). Vojinović spent two days in jail when the Republika Srpska (RS) Special Prosecutor’s Office charged him with abuse of authority in economy regarding the Farming Co-op Potkozarje. He was acquitted by the RS Supreme Court. Vojinović said that it was a politically motivated prosecution related to the power struggle over Laktaši municipality. “I’m not from SNSD (party), that’s the thing, “said Vojinović.

The lists of candidates for municipal mayor positions in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) published by the Central Election Commission (CIK) features people suspected of war crimes, tax evasion and abuse of office. According to the records collected by CIN, the candidates for municipal mayor positions in Gračanica, Foča and Vogošća have legally binding convictions, while those running for the highest office in Doboj and Krupa na Uni are war crimes suspects. A candidate running for municipal mayor position in Olovo municipality is accused of abuse of office, while a candidate running for municipal mayor position in Kotor Varoš is accused of tax evasion. Indictments and ongoing investigations are not obstacles to run for office, while a probationary sentence, a fine or pardons are not defined by the Election Law in BiH.

Hazim Vikalo, a Party for Democratic Action candidate for the municipal mayor position in Gračanica was sentenced in 2006 to four months in prison on charges of abuse of office at the time when he was the prime minister of Tuzla Canton. According to an indictment, Vikalo ordered the head of the Cantonal Intervention Storage Autority to buy paint worth 140,000 KM from a Sarajevo firm AB Behapol so that the firm could pay back its loan to the Tuzla Bank. He was also found guilty of non-transparently loaning out budget money to public and private companies and other agencies. At the end of 2009, the then President of the Federation of BiH Borjana Krišto pardoned Vikalo from serving his sentence.

Vukašin Vojinović from the Vozi Miško coalition is a candidate for Laktaši municipal mayor position. (Credit: haber.ba)

The New Socialist Party candidate for municipal mayor position in Foča Municipality is the incumbent Zdravko Krsmanović. The Basic Court in Foča sentenced him this May for abuse of office to six-month probation pending appeal. Krsmanović abused his office and tried to bring gain to a private company Peđa-tours by giving a power of attorney on behalf of Foča Municipality to Zoran Ćosović to buy a Foča-based Srbinjeprevoz real property holdings on a bankruptcy auction. In the process he harmed the company Autokomerc owned by Vlado Đajić which was also qualified to enter bidding. Also, the Commission for Prevention of Conflict of Interest in the RS is looking into a case against Krsmanovića. According to the Commission’s ruling, Krsmanović was in the conflict of interest because he was both the municipal mayor and the president of Sutjeska soccer club when it received around half million KM from the Municipality.

Eset Muračević is running for municipal mayor position in Vogošća on the Social Democratic Union’s ticket. Last year he pleaded guilty in a plea bargain to disclosing the identity of a protected witness when he published an article in Bum newspaper. The Court of BiH sentenced Muračević to a six-month probation that would not be executed if he does not commit a new crime in two years.

The candidates for the municipal mayor positions in Doboj and Krupa na Uni municipalities, the independent candidate Milan Ninković and Gojko Kličković of the Serb Democratic Party respectively, are war crimes suspects. Ninković is under the BiH Prosecutor’s Office investigation while he was also the target of the OHR’s sanctions in the past. The former RS Prime Minister Kličković awaits a verdict on war crimes charges following appeal. The Court of BiH acquitted him in 2010.

Alija Hadžiabdić, a candidate of Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina for the municipal mayor position in Olovo municipality is suspected of abuse of office. The Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office in Zenica filed an indictment against Hadžiabdić in the beginning of this year for unauthorized sacking of the Hospital’s Board of Directors in Jan. 2009–during his previous term.

Banja Luka District Prosecutor’s Office has filed an indictment against Miroslav Malijević, the Party of Democratic Progress candidate for the municipal mayor position in Kotor Varoš in 2005, on charges of tax and worker benefits’ evasion, forging or destroying of financial books and company records. According to the indictment, as a head of a Kotor Varoš private firm Fagus he evaded paying taxes and health and pension benefits. He apparently kept double books in which he entered false income records thus damaging the RS budget for more than 150,000 KM.

CIN wrote earlier about the candidates for the municipalities of Kiseljak, Ilidža, Konjic, Cazin, Kakanj, Novi Travnik, Visoko and Novo Sarajevo with legally binding judgments on the charges of abuse of office and obstruction of justice and those who had been under police investigation.

The local elections in BiH will be held on Oct 7. 550 candidates are running for 5 mayors and 135 municipal mayor positions.

Published Aug. 24, 2012.