US Embassy, EU Reject Bosnian Croat Demand

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, October 16, 2018 – Leader of the Croatian Democratic Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina (HDZ BiH) Dragan Čović received an express rejection to his demands that before a new government is formed based on the results of the October 7 general election that amendments be made to the election law.

Although it is essential to resolve the problems in the election law in Bosnia and Herzegovina, holding this country hostage in an effort to obtain political benefit is irresponsible and unfair toward citizens, including Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Instead, political parties should be working within the established political framework and in the spirit of compromise, the U.S. Embassy said in a press release to the media in Bosnia and Herzegovina after Čović on Monday said that a new election law was an “absolute condition” to setting up the new government.

Even though Željko Komšić convincingly beat Čović for the Croat seat in the Bosnian presidency, HDZ BiH won a majority support in some of the cantons in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity and as such is an unavoidable stakeholder in negotiations to set up a new executive government in that entity and at the state level.

Čović has decided to use that advantage in a bid to compel Bosniak parties to amend the election law, primarily to introduce a model that has been insisted upon for years according to which separate election constituencies would be established in the federation entity where Croats and Bosniaks would each choose their member to the presidency.

The American embassy recalled that over the past year the international community attempted to assist in the dialogue between political parties in an effort to resolve the problems in the election law. That however did not happen because there wasn’t any political will for compromise. Even though that task has not gone away, it shouldn’t be an obstacle to set up a government that would primarily continue implementing essential reforms, the US embassy holds.

This reaction is on the track of the Council of the European Union’s conclusions held in Brussels on Monday. The conclusions note that the “Council expects all leaders to engage constructively on government formation at all levels, in the interests of all citizens.”

The EU Council recalled that it expects the BiH authorities to prioritise taking forward the reforms needed to advance on in its EU path, ensuring the full and effective implementation of the Reform Agenda adopted in 2015.

Left parties warned Čović that he cannot set ultimatums and that if he needed a partner he would have to look elsewhere, primarily in the Party of Democratic Action (SDA). “We won’t allow any blackmail,…and we won’t support any proposal and in particular not from the HDZ to introduce additional discrimination,” the leader of the SDP BiH, Nermin Nikšić said as carried by the Klix web site.

The Democratic Front (DF) led by Komšić and a likely coalition partner with the SDP BiH, sent Čović a message that they won’t succumb to his demands, which they consider to be an ultimatum.

A former High Representative of the international community to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Wolfgang Petritsch, said in an interview with the Klix web portal that the election of Komšić was good and he praised Komšić as a constructive politician.

On the other hand, Petritsch finds that the election of Milorad Dodik as the Serb representative in the tripartite presidency could cause “an unbearable situation”. The Austrian politician recalls that the Bosnian Serb leader is on the U.S. black list that restricted the scope of his political activities.


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