Hungary’s Orban endorses Bosnia’s Dodik ahead of October 2 election


Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, released a video message on Thursday endorsing the nationalist Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, who is running for president of Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity in the upcoming Bosnian election on October 2.

Dodik, who is currently serving as the ethnic Serb member of Bosnia’s three-member national presidency, is running to lead the country’s Serb-dominated RS region which accounts for half of the entire country’s territory. A hardline nationalist placed under US sanctions in January, Dodik is known for often threatening to secede from Bosnia.

Dodik was previously head of the RS entity from 2010 to 2018, and is also the leader of the region’s largest party, the nominally social democratic SNSD. Orban’s one-minute video, with subtitles in Bosnian, was posted online by RTRS, the state television of RS, on Thursday, little after 9 am local time. By noon Thursday, it had less than 3,000 views.

In the message, Orban described RS as Hungary’s “honorary neighbor” even though RS does not border Hungary.

“Hungary and Serbia are neighbors, but Hungary also considers Republika Srpska to be its honorary neighbor. That’s why what happens there is very important for us, as it has an impact on Hungary and the entire region, and of course, it also affects your lives, the lives of our friends,” Orban said.

He called Dodik a “personal friend” and a “friend of Hungary.”

“God bless all Serbs in the entire Balkans,” Orban said in the message.