Bosnian computer programmers launch 'Kill the Candidate' game before elections

Bosnian Croat computer programmers have launched a computer game inviting players to "kill" off virtual presidential candidates, just days before Bosnia holds general elections.

The group of programmers, who calls themselves Erohakermen, said they created the online game "Kill the Presidential Candidate" "because Bosnian Croat politicians cannot agree on one Croat candidate for the presidency," according to a report Wednesday on Internet news site Pincom.info.

Bosnia holds elections Sunday for parliament as well as the three-member presidency, with one representative for each ethnic group: Catholic Croats, Muslim Bosniaks and Orthodox Serbs.

The game features six odd-shaped windows, in which five smiling candidates from different Bosnian Croat parties pop up quickly before disappearing again. Using a computer mouse, players are instructed to eliminate candidates they like least by clicking on them to "shoot them."

Players have 30 virtual bullets, but must hit the same candidate 20 times to eliminate him. The game continues until only one candidate is left, or the player runs out of ammunition. The game does not include candidates from parties representing other ethnic groups.

The simplicity of the game marks a contrast to the convoluted, often bitter campaign, in which dozens of politicians have wrangled over media exposure and focused on ethnic divisions and problems left unresolved after the 1992-95 war.

"When all our heads are full of politics and politicians, especially during these pre-election days, hackers came up with an idea to ease our lives. We finally have a chance to kill all those candidates we dislike," Pincom.info said in its report.

The European Union has warned Bosnia's political parties to tone down their ethnic rhetoric before the vote, reports AP.

Srdjan Dizdarevic, head of the Bosnian branch of Helsinki Human Rights Committee, said the campaign has been "dirty, marked by hate speech and by boosting ethnic divisions."