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Polls opened Sunday in Bosnia as Bosnians choose the country's new president and legislators at the national, regional and local levels, Reuters reported.

Nearly 3.4 million people are eligible to vote in the country.

Polling stations open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. local time. The first official results are expected at midnight, but political parties are expected to submit their own results around 10 p.m.

Bosnia consists of two autonomous regions, the Serb-dominated Serb Republic and the Federation, divided between Bosnians and Croats. The Federation is also divided into 10 cantons. To the north is the neutral Brčko district.

In the ruling ethnic parties' campaigning, the parties have focused more on themes of defending national interests and criticizing opponents than on real issues, such as jobs and rising inflation, the media noted.

A lack of reliable polls makes it difficult to predict the results, but many analysts believe the nationalist parties will remain dominant, and the biggest changes may occur in the Bosniak camp, which is the largest and most diverse.

Bakir Izetbegovic, leader of the largest Bosnian (Bosnian Muslims) Democratic Action Party (SDA), who is running for president of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is in a tight race against Denis Becirovic of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), whose bid is supported by 11 civil opposition parties.

Observers believe Serbian and Croatian nationalist parties will remain in power, but some polls show that incumbent leader Milorad Dodik, who is running for president of the Serbian Republic, faces strong competition from opposition economist Jelena Trivic.

Croatian parties have warned that they could block the formation of a government after the vote if the moderate Zeljko Komšić wins the Croatian presidential council. They say that his victory can only be based on the votes of the Bosnian majority and that they will not consider him a legitimate representative of the Croats.

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