Bosnia & Herzegovina's state-level statistics office released on June 30 the long delayed final results of the 2013 census, despite strong objections from Republika Srpska, one of the entities making up the country. The census was the first conducted since the end of the Bosnian war in 1995.
The announcement of the results is one of the requirements for a credible application for European Union membership. B&H formally applied for membership in February and hopes to get candidate status in 2017.
However, officials in Republika Srpska have repeatedly said they will not accept the result. Mladen Bosic, leader of the entity’s main opposition party, the Serb Democratic Party (SDS) (which was founded by Radovan Karadzic) has filed an appeal at the constitutional court against the release.
According to the final results, Bosnia has a total population of 3.53mn. Nearly two thirds – 2.22mn - live in the Muslim-Croat Federation, the biggest of the entities. Republika Srpska boasts a population of 1.23mn; the population of the autonomous Brcko district is 83,516.
The results also show that Bosnia’s ethnic composition has changed significantly since the signing of the 1995 Dayton agreement that ended the Bosnian war. According to the peace accord, the three ethnicities – Muslims, Croats and Serbs - were equally represented. However, the 2013 census shows that Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) now represent 50.11% of the population, Serbs make up 30.78%, while Croats constitute just 15.43%. Almost all Muslims (88.23%) and Croats (91.39%) live in the Muslim-Croat Federation; 92.11% of Serbs live in Republika Srpska.
However, Republika Srpska’s top politicians insisted again on June 30 that the entity will not recognize the results. Bosic has said that the decision of Velimir Jukic, head of the statistics office, to announce the result violates 13 articles of the census law. The announcement of the final results was delayed for years because of a methodological disagreement between the statistics offices of the two entities.
The president of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, said that the census results show the farce in which the country lives and that the set up of B&H suits only the Bosniaks, not the Serbs. He added that the entity will not admit and publish the census results, daily Nezavisne Novine reported.
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