Pro-Russian separatist confirmed as president of Bosnia's Serb region

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - A pro-Russian long-time leader of Bosnian Serbs was confirmed on Thursday as president of Bosnia's autonomous Serb Republic after electoral authorities published results of the recount of ballots for the region's presidential race.

Bosnia held presidential and parliamentary elections on Oct. 2, which confirmed the dominance of Serb, Croat and Bosniak nationalist parties in parliaments at various levels of the Balkan country's governance.

The state election commission (CIK) ordered the recount of the ballots earlier this month after opposition parties filed complaints that the vote was rigged by separatist Milorad Dodik.

Despite finding numerous violations of the counting process after the vote, the CIK concluded it was not enough to repeat the race and declared Dodik the Serb Republic's new president.

"Candidate Milorad Dodik representing the Serb people has won the largest number of votes," CIK President Suad Arnautovic said during the commission session.

This will be the third presidential term for Dodik, who also served three terms as the Serb Republic's prime minister and is leaving the job of the Serb member on Bosnia's tripartite inter-ethnic presidency.

Dodik's main competitor was opposition candidate Jelena Trivic, who declared victory on election night. Three parties supporting Trivic held two big rallies in the Serb Republic's de facto capital of Banja Luka, asking for the recount of ballots.

On Tuesday, Dodik's SNSD party and its coalition parties, which are set to dominate the regional parliament, held a large rally in Banja Luka attended by dozens of thousands of supporters, in which Dodik declared his victory before the official results had been published.

Dodik, who has long pursued separatist policies, reiterated that his political goal was the secession of the Serb region from Bosnia.

(Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; editing by Jonathan Oatis)