The country, divided into a Serbian and a Croatian-Muslim state with a central government, elected at three levels: in addition to the state level, the regional MPs and the president and his two deputies were elected in the Republika Srpska, the Serbian part of the country. Observers assume that the nationalist hardliner Milorad Dodik will once again become president of the Republic of Srpska. The 63-year-old has held this office twice.
In the Muslim-Croatian federation, elections were held for a bicameral parliament, which will then appoint a president and two vice-presidents. The voters also choose the members of the assemblies of the ten cantons that make up the federation.
At the state level, the presidency consists of a Croat, a Bosniak Muslim and a Serb, who rotate in the presidency every eight months.
The complex and poorly functioning political system in the Balkan state emerged from the 1995 Dayton Agreement, which ended the civil war of the 1990s with 100,000 dead.
Since 1995, the UN Security Council has appointed a High Representative to oversee the implementation of the peace agreement. The German Christian Schmidt currently holds the office. The envoy has formal powers to intervene in legislation and remove elected politicians. The office was originally scheduled to expire in 2007, but due to political instability and the failure of local politicians, the mandate was extended.
"I hope for nothing," said 57-year-old economist Amra Besic as she cast her vote in Sarajevo on Sunday. "I vote because it's the only thing I can do as an individual." 21-year-old philosophy student Sara Djogic lamented the lack of new ideas and fresh faces. "We have observed most of the candidates who are running over the past 20 years."