Bosnian Croat Leader Wants Zagreb to Support Electoral Law Reform

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Dragan Čović speaks about the status of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Chairman of Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Dragan Čović said on Monday, before the meeting between Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday, that he expected the government in Zagreb to lobby for the equality of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in favour of changes to the country’s electoral law, reports on January 9, 2018.

“My communication with the authorities in Croatia is regular, and I ask them, as well as all the others, to help achieve legitimate representation of constituent peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina and for us to turn towards the European path,” Čović said on Monday at a press conference in Mostar. He added that he would not speculate about “who would lobby and how.” Čović said that the Croatian President would visit Bosnia and Herzegovina next week.

The Croatian media reported that President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović would seek support at her meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Tuesday for amendments to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s electoral law, in view of the influence which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has on Bosniak political leadership, and especially on the leader of the most powerful political party SDA (Party of Democratic Action), Bakir Izetbegović.

Čović expressed his optimism that the electoral law would be amended so that the elections scheduled for October this year could be called. “This is a major issue because we need to regulate something which is now empty. We have to change the electoral law, and I’m confident that we will succeed in ensuring that the elections are called on 7 or 8 May,” Čović said.

He expressed his expectation that there would be “enough wisdom” to carry out the necessary reforms related to the European path of the country. Asked how HDZ in Bosnia and Herzegovina would react if Bosniak parties tried to nominate Željko Komšić, who was elected twice by the votes of Bosniak voters as the Croatian member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency, Čović explained that his party, along with other Croatian parties, had an alternative.

“HDZ is the main party of the Croatian people, and together with the other Croatian parties, we have a clear plan on what we want to do in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the next two, four or ten years. We have an alternative for each event,” Čović said.

The current electoral law in Bosnia and Herzegovina allows Bosniaks, which are much more numerous than Croats, to vote for the Croat member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency and in that way elect a candidate which does not have the majority support among Croats in the country.


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