As Bosnia voted in local polls on Sunday, all eyes were on the eastern town of Srebrenica, where 8,000 Muslim men were massacred in 1995, amid fears that Serbs could take power in the once Muslim-majority city.
New electoral rules have paved the way for the Serbs to win office in Srebrenica, a move that has fuelled inter-ethnic disputes in the town that became a gruesome symbol of Bosnia's 1992-95 war.
But the outcome of the vote was still uncertain as the state electoral commission said it would delay its projections on preliminary final results till Monday at 1300 GMT.
Nevertheless, local electoral commission official Nemir Alivukovic told AFP that the Serb mayoral candidate Vesna Kocovic was slightly ahead, but insisted that almost one third of total ballots cast were yet to be counted.
However the Muslim candidate, incumbent mayor Camil Durakovic, said he was ahead of Kocovic, insisting that votes remaining to be counted were mostly from Muslims living abroad, securing his victory.
Durakovic, himself a massacre survivor, said Sunday's vote would be "the most important one since the end of the (1992-1995) war" in Bosnia.
In his tiny campaign office in the centre of the once flourishing mining town, the 33-year-old Durakovic said the vote "is not a fight for my personal victory".
"This is a fight between two politics that dominate our country: those denying genocide and those who do not, between good and evil."
Although Bosnian President Milorad Dodik, who visited Srebrenica during the election campaign, has denied the 1995 massacre constituted genocide, Kocevic avoided the term while acknowledging that war crimes had been committed.
"Muslims have nothing to fear if I win, and I am convinced I am able to do more to rebuild confidence between the two communities," Kocevic told AFP.
The centre of Srebrenica, now home to just 6,000 people, was crowded on Sunday, many residents sipping drinks in cafes that are side-by-side despite being run by former Muslim and Serb foes.
No major incidents were reported during the vote, even where both Serbs and Muslims were casting their ballots.
Some 14,000 registered voters are divided almost equally between Muslims and Serbs.
Bosnian Serb forces summarily executed some 8,000 Muslim men and boys after they captured the town in July 1995. Two international courts have ruled the massacre a genocide.
The Muslims who survived were expelled and most of them never returned to Srebrenica, which now lies in the Serb-dominated part of the Balkan country.
For almost 17 years, Srebrenica Muslims who fled the town were allowed to vote in local elections, assuring them of a Muslim mayor.
But this year, they have been stripped of that right after complex local voting laws were reformed, prompting fears that Serbs, who have a slight majority in the town, can now vote in their candidate as mayor.
Muslim retiree Hasan Mesanovic, 64, said of the vote: "What the Serbs failed to obtain with their ethnic cleansing, by genocide, they would do now if they win."
Mesanovic, whose four brothers were killed in the massacre, said he had hoped to spend his retirement in Srebrenica.
"But if Serbs win, I will never come back. Who could guarantee that they would not do the same again?" he asked.
However Danko Mitrovic, a 50-year-old Serb builder, said his vote for a Serb candidate should not be seen as a threat to Muslims.
"After all the tragedies we have survived here, I would like us to live together, that everyone can live freely," he said.
Like many, Mitrovic was more worried about the economic hardships in the impoverished country.
"One thing is certain, if neither Serbs nor Muslims can earn a living here, they will all leave" the town, he said.
With an unemployment rate of almost 44 percent and an average monthly salary of around 420 euros ($550), debate over pocketbook issues often dominated the campaign.
Nationwide, some 550 candidates, including 40 women, were running for 140 mayoral posts, while more than 30,000 candidates, 35 percent of them women, were contesting seats in local councils.