Europe

Bosnian Serbs overwhelmingly vote to keep disputed holiday

  • Bosnian Serb Milorad Dodik, President of the Bosnian Serb region of Republic of Srpska, greets supporters during celebrations after the result of the referendum in the Bosnian town of Pale, Bosnia, on Sunday Sept. 25, 2016. Sunday's vote asks residents of Republika Srpska whether to maintain a national holiday on Jan. 9, despite a ruling of Bosnia's constitutional court that the date discriminates against non-Serbs. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)

    Bosnian Serb Milorad Dodik, President of the Bosnian Serb region of Republic of Srpska, greets supporters during celebrations after the result of the referendum in the Bosnian town of Pale, Bosnia, on Sunday Sept. 25, 2016. Sunday's vote asks residents of Republika Srpska whether to maintain a national holiday on Jan. 9, despite a ruling of Bosnia's constitutional court that the date discriminates against non-Serbs. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)  (The Associated Press)

  • Bosnian Serb Milorad Dodik, centre, President of the Bosnian Serb region of Republic of Srpska, Bosko Tomic, left, and Bosko Jugovic, right, greet supporters during celebrations after the result of the referendum in the Bosnian town of Pale, Bosnia, on Sunday Sept. 25, 2016. Sunday's vote asks residents of Republika Srpska whether to maintain a national holiday on Jan. 9, despite a ruling of Bosnia's constitutional court that the date discriminates against non-Serbs. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)

    Bosnian Serb Milorad Dodik, centre, President of the Bosnian Serb region of Republic of Srpska, Bosko Tomic, left, and Bosko Jugovic, right, greet supporters during celebrations after the result of the referendum in the Bosnian town of Pale, Bosnia, on Sunday Sept. 25, 2016. Sunday's vote asks residents of Republika Srpska whether to maintain a national holiday on Jan. 9, despite a ruling of Bosnia's constitutional court that the date discriminates against non-Serbs. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)  (The Associated Press)

  • Bosnian people wave flags during the speech of Milorad Dodik, President of the Bosnian Serb region of Republic of Srpska, during celebrations after the result of the referendum in the Bosnian town of Pale, Bosnia, on Sunday Sept. 25, 2016. Sunday's vote asks residents of Republika Srpska whether to maintain a national holiday on Jan. 9, despite a ruling of Bosnia's constitutional court that the date discriminates against non-Serbs. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)

    Bosnian people wave flags during the speech of Milorad Dodik, President of the Bosnian Serb region of Republic of Srpska, during celebrations after the result of the referendum in the Bosnian town of Pale, Bosnia, on Sunday Sept. 25, 2016. Sunday's vote asks residents of Republika Srpska whether to maintain a national holiday on Jan. 9, despite a ruling of Bosnia's constitutional court that the date discriminates against non-Serbs. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)  (The Associated Press)

Bosnian Serbs have voted overwhelmingly in favor of keeping a disputed holiday that a constitutional court had said discriminates against non-Serbs.

The referendum organized by the local government in the Serb region of Republika Srpska defied a ban on the vote by Bosnia's constitutional court.

It asked whether to keep Jan. 9 as a holiday in Republika Srpska, commemorating the day in 1992 when Bosnian Serbs declared the creation of their own state, igniting the 1992-95 war. The court had ruled the date discriminates against Muslim Bosniaks and Catholic Croats in Bosnia because it falls on a Serb Christian Orthodox religious holiday.

Authorities said Monday that preliminary results show 99.79 percent of voters in Republika Srpska were in favor of the holiday and that turnout was 56-60 percent.