A hard-line Serbian nationalist has been elected president of
the Serb Republic in Bosnia. The nationalist, Nikola Poplasen,
defeated Biljana Plavsic, the moderate Serb supported by Western
elections, mandated as a part of the Dayton Peace Accords, mean
Popalsen will serve as the chief representative of the Serbs to
the national Bosnian government in Sarajevo.
Poplasen, a former commander in the Bosnian Serb army, defeated
Biljana Plavsic, a moderate Serb with the support of Western leaders.
The election of a nationalist who ran on a platform of pan-Serbian
unity – an idea that helped spark the last war – worries some
observers like Stephen Walker, a former State Department officer
who resigned over U.S. policy and is now with the Balkan Crisis
Center. They fear that Mr. Poplasen’s victory may mean an end
to multi-ethnic rule in the Serb Republic and the death for the
Although some worry Mr. Poplasen may be a move away from peace,
other argue it is but one part in a larger mosaic.
"The locus of power in the Republic of Srbska is in the national
assembly," argues Robert Frowlick, who represented the Organization
for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Bosnia from 1995 through
1997. "There we see a real turning away from the extreme parties
and this is the organization that Poplasen must deal with."