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Of those who voted, 75 per cent opted for nationalist parties, the Bosniac Party of Democratic Action (Stranka demokratske akcije or SDA), Serb Democratic Party (Srpska demokratska stranka or SDS) and Croat Democratic Union (Hrvatska demokratska zajednica or HDZ).

The SDA won 86 seats, the SDS 72, and the HDZ 44 -- a combined total of 202 out of 240 seats in the Bosnian Parliament.

On the basis of this failure to achieve the required conditions for holding the elections, disenfranchisement, electoral engineering, and the preliminary vote count results, the 14 September elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot be considered free and fair as required by the DPA.

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It would seem that there was a turn-out of over 100%.

This calls in question the validity of the results.

Although this call was partly answered by the decision of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to postpone municipal elections because of the blatant manipulation of the registration of refugee voters in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Croatia, the OSCE did not regard this as sufficient reason for postponing the general elections.

On 14 September the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina voted in multi-party elections for the first time since 1990.

In its wake, the phrase etnicko ciscenje (ethnic cleansing) passed from Bosnian into the international lexicon.

It encapsulates the brutality of a conflict aimed at expelling members of the "other" ethnic groups and eradicating all traces of alien culture.2 Although citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina elected nationalists to power, they did not expect their vote to result in the wholesale destruction of their homeland.At that time, the nationalist parties were broad coalitions, and local candidates reflected the very different concerns of communities spread throughout the republic.Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.On 13 August the International Crisis Group monitoring the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) issued a report calling for the postponement of the elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the grounds that the minimum conditions for a free and fair poll did not exist.However, the Parties to the DPA (the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and its two constituent entities - the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska) had not created the minimum conditions for elections: repatriation and reintegration of refugees had not begun; indicted war criminals continued to exert influence behind the scenes; and freedom of movement and expression remained severely restricted.

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