Speaking to the press in Mostar, southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, Plenković said the international community’s High Representative Christian Schmidt “has a very balanced proposal which will enable legitimate representation at the Federation level and government formation with minor changes.”
It is expected that Schmidt will impose electoral law changes that would prevent outvoting the Croats and obstructing government formation after elections, as well as ensure the normal functioning of the Croat-Bosniak Federation entity.
Pro-Bosniak political parties and NGOs as well as the Islamic Community have strongly criticised Schmidt since details of the changes leaked last week, including calls for chaos and violence, and there has even been mention of war.
Plenković said the messages of the Bosniak parties were “revelatory”. He said the reactions were “exaggerated” and that tensions should be defused so that general elections scheduled for October “can be implemented in the best way possible.”
Plenković said he did hold talks on the initiative to change the election law and the Federation’s constitution, but that the most important thing was for those reforms to lead to better relations.
“I believe that such a move would lead to a better functioning of representative bodies and later on the executive authority in BiH,” he said, adding that a stable, democratic and inclusive BiH in which the Croats, “although the smallest people, will be equal,” is in Croatia’s interest.
Plenković said these moves were in line with the Dayton-Paris agreement which ended the war in BiH and with the Washington agreement on the establishment of the Federation entity.
For three times now, Željko Komšić has been elected as the Croat member of the BiH Presidency thanks to Bosniak voters. Komšić has announced that he will run again in October.
Now there is a danger that Bosniaks will elect six of the 17 delegates to the Croat group in the Federation parliament’s House of Peoples, whereby they could oust from government the Croat parties for which the largest number of Croats vote. Croatia and BiH Croat parties are against that.
Dragan Čović, the president of one of them, the HDZ BiH, said after today’s talks with Plenković that Bosniak parties had managed to obstruct constitutional and electoral reforms in part, thereby highlighting the attempt to oust the Croat people from government. He called for strengthening Croat-Bosniak ties as the key to a stable BiH.
“Our message is that we want to build good relations with the Bosniaks, that this is an opportunity for the Federation as well as for BiH. Without the Croat people, BiH won’t be able to function as a normal state,” Čović said.
Asked by the press about Croatian President Zoran Milanović’s statement that his visit to BiH was a PR move, Plenković said Milanović was constantly doing harm to Croats in BiH, including his insults of Schmidt. “His every statement is causing damage to the Croats in BiH because they drive the parties further away from solving their problem.”
In the afternoon, Plenković visited Čitluk, Čapljina, Stolac and Ravno, meeting the authorities and checking the projects supported by the Croatian government. He said Croatia would continue to support key BiH Croat institutions such as the university, the university hospital and the Croatian National Theatre in Mostar.