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article imageBosnian Serb strongman says he will run for presidency

By AFP     Feb 16, 2018 in World

Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, who regularly threatens secession, said Friday he would run for Bosnia's tripartite presidency later this year despite believing it was a "failed" state.

Since the Dayton peace accords ended Bosnia's devastating 1990s conflict, the Balkan country has consisted of two semi-independent entities: the Serbs' Republika Srpska (RS) and a Muslim-Croat federation.

Each has its own government but they share weak central institutions, including the joint presidency comprising members from the three main ethnic groups: a Bosnian Muslim, a Croat and a Serb.

"I will definitely be a candidate for membership of the presidency," Dodik, 58, told Serbian state-run RTS television but repeated his belief that Bosnia was a "failed country".

Dodik is currently RS president and the most powerful politician in the entity. Once a darling of the West and perceived as a moderate, he now shows more sympathies for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Dodik regularly criticises Bosnia's central institutions and threatens to hold a referendum on RS independence.

In January he said the RS was moving towards the "highest possible" level of independence, which he described as a "legitimate political goal".

Dodik rarely visits Bosnia's capital Sarajevo, now a predominantly Muslim city, where the presidency has its seat.

About one half of Bosnia's 3.5 million citizens are Muslim Bosniaks, a third are Orthodox Serbs, and Catholic Croats make up some 15 percent.

The 1992-1995 inter-ethnic war claimed around 100,000 lives.

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