No. 6 - Nov. 1996
Vol. 44 - pp. 8

Focus on NATO

IFOR support for the Bosnian elections

The national and regional (entity) elections that took place in Bosnia-Herzegovina on 14 September represented an important step toward consolidating the peace. In recognition of their importance, the North Atlantic Council had directed the Implementation Force (IFOR) to give the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) priority support in preparing and conducting the elections.

IFOR support covered three areas:

  • Planning. A team of IFOR officers worked with the OSCE for some three months to assist in preparing the elections. In addition, other officers working in the field assisted in selecting polling station sites, organizing local election commissions, and explaining election rules and procedures to local authorities.

  • Logistics. IFOR provided extensive air and ground transportation for OSCE officials, supervisors and observers. IFOR arranged for printing the massive voter registration lists out-of-theatre, and then transported them to Bosnia. IFOR delivered election material to and from the 4,000 polling stations, including over 17,000 ballot boxes.

  • Security. On election day, IFOR conducted deterrent patrols for voters to cross the Inter-Entity Boundary Line, closely monitored the 19 recommended sites and established quick response teams. An Elections Response Group was established and was ready to deploy teams comprising both international and Party officials rapidly to trouble spots.

Following the elections, NATO Secretary General Javier Solana stated his satisfaction with their overall conduct and praised IFOR's role in ensuring that they took place peacefully, without major incidents or disturbances. He urged the newly elected officials to work together in the establishment of the new common institutions for Bosnia-Herzegovina. IFOR is actively supporting the Office of the High Representative in helping to ensure these institutions begin to function effectively as soon as possible. IFOR is also working closely with the OSCE to prepare for the postponed municipal elections now scheduled for November.

Source: NATO International Staff Bosnia Task Force

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