Bosniak Leader Tells EU Officials SDA Willing to Continue Talks on Election Reform

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Image: Bakir Izetbegović/Facebook screenshot
Image: Bakir Izetbegović/Facebook screenshot

In a letter to EU leaders whose content was reported to local media by Bosnia and Herzegovina’s ruling Bosniak party, Izetbegović said that “the HDZ’s tough positions, excessive insistence on the principle of ethnicity and refusal to seriously discuss defining the powers of the House of Peoples of the Parliament of the BiH Federation entity” had prevented an agreement during negotiations mediated by EU and US officials.

The last round of negotiations ended inconclusively a week ago and HDZ BiH leader Dragan Čović and Izetbegović have since traded a number of serious accusations over the failure of the talks.

After that, Čović sent a letter to EU officials informing them of the positions of parties gathered in the Croatian National Assembly (HNS), an umbrella political organisation of BiH Croat parties, their point being that they insist on consistent respect for the constitutional rights of BiH’s constituent peoples, including Croats, which includes the right to legitimate representation in all levels of government.

This prompted Izetbegović to write to European Council President Charles Michel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, as well as Croatian President Zoran Milanović and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.

In his letter, Izetbegović particularly condemns the possible launching of the process of territorial reorganisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the boycott Croat parties could opt for if the coming election is organised in line with the existing election law.

Izetbegović says that any attempt to unilaterally change the country’s territorial structure would be in direct violation of the Dayton Agreement and jeopardise peace and stability, and that he sees it as the restoration of Herceg-Bosna, the Bosnian Croat statelet established during the country’s 1992-1995 war.

As for the possible boycott of the elections, Izetbegović says that it is a democratic way to demonstrate one’s dissatisfaction, to which everyone is entitled, but notes that it does not mean the right to obstruct and block elections because that is against the country’s constitution.

The SDA leader also resolutely dismisses the HDZ’s claims that the SDA wants to establish a unitary state, noting that by using such accusations Čović and his associates are actually looking for an alibi for a policy that would lead to a complete division of the country along ethnic lines, which, he says, they have been doing in cooperation with Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik.

“I want to emphasis that during the last round of talks, significant progress has been made that can be the basis for the continuation of talks. The SDA will always accept negotiations that will lead to stabilisation and solutions that are in line with European standards and EU recommendations,” reads Izetbegović’s letter to EU officials and EU member-countries’ leaders.

For more, check out our politics section.


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