ZAGREB, January 31, 2018 – Bosnia and Herzegovina’s lower house of parliament on Wednesday rejected the proposed amendments to election law put forward by the Croat HDZ party, as well as a proposal by the predominantly Bosniak SDA party, returning the election reform process to square one.
The HDZ-sponsored amendments were backed by 11 of 42 deputies, including those from the SNSD party of Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik. The SDA’s proposal received the support of seven deputies.
The HDZ’s proposal, under which Croat deputies to the upper house of parliament of the Bosniak-Croat Federation entity would be elected from cantons with a relative or overwhelming Croat majority, and a new model of election of two of the three members of the state Presidency, under which ad hoc ethnically-based constituencies would be formed to choose the Croat and the Bosniak member of the Presidency, were rejected by all Bosniak parties and the Serb Democratic Party (SDS), which is part of the ruling coalition at the state level.
The SDA proposed that each canton be given the option of delegating deputies to the upper house of parliament from all three constituent peoples. The party did not deal with the issue of election of Presidency members, saying that it should be solved together with the implementation of the European Court of Human Rights ruling in the Sejdić-Finci case.
A general election is due in October and any changes to election legislation are possible by no later than the beginning of May. Possible solutions are currently being negotiated by the parties with the mediation of the EU Delegation and the US Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Presidency members Dragan Ćović, Bakir Izetbegović and Mladen Ivanić travelled to Brussels on Wednesday to discuss the issue with European People’s Party President Joseph Daul. All three said before leaving that they did not believe a final solution could be found in this format.