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Last Updated: Monday, 10 December 2007, 19:20 GMT
Bosnian Serbs get new president
Bosnian Serbs at rally with poster of Rajko Kuzmanovic
The ruling party's candidate won - but turnout was low at 37%
A new president has been elected in the Bosnian Serb republic - Rajko Kuzmanovic, 76.

He is a close ally of the Bosnian Serb Prime Minister, Milorad Dodik. The republic, called Republika Srpska, is part of Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Officials said Mr Kuzmanovic, of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, got nearly 42% of the vote.

All 10 candidates opposed any weakening of the republic's high degree of autonomy within Bosnia-Hercegovina.

European Union officials have made it clear that central institutions will have to be strengthened before Bosnia can be considered for EU membership.

Bosnian Serbs were voting to choose a successor to President Milan Jelic, who died in September.

Mr Kuzmanovic's nearest rival, Ognjen Tadic, polled 35%. He was the candidate of the Serb Democratic Party, founded by fugitive war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic.

The poll came five days after Bosnia's first step to EU membership.

On 4 December, it initialled a pre-membership agreement at a ceremony in Sarajevo, following a deal to merge the country's ethnically-divided police force. The Muslim-Croat federation forms the other half of Bosnia-Hercegovina.

The role of Bosnian Serb president is mostly ceremonial but includes the power to appoint or dismiss the prime minister with parliamentary support.

SEE ALSO
Country profile: Bosnia-Hercegovina
31 Jul 07 |  Country profiles

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