22:08 / 27.04.2022.

Author: Katja Miličić

No progress on electoral reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina

HDZ BiH leader Dragan Čović

HDZ BiH leader Dragan Čović

Foto: Armin Durgut / Pixsell

Lawmakers in House of Peoples, one of two chambers in the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, did not debate on Wednesday a bill proposed by Croat members to change existing electoral legislation. 

The proposal envisages a scheme that its proponents say will ensure Croats, the smallest of the three constituent peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina, are fairly represented and would protect them from being outvoted by the larger Bosniac population.

The Bosniac members of the assembly who boycotted Tuesday’s session, on Wednesday invoked the protection of vital national interest rule, blocking the proposal, making it increasingly likely that the October general elections will be held under the current electoral legislation.

"It is my duty, as the representative of the Croat people, which is what I am in the House of Peoples and the Club of Croat MPs, to seek a solution to protect the Croat people from being overrun by the majority in the Federation, from the clear attempt and desire, if the elections were to be held under these rules in October, not only for Bosniacs to elect 2 members of the Presidency, but to choose representatives or leaders in all four clubs of deputies in the House of Peoples. I would have been very happy had we been able to reach a solution through dialogue,” said Dragan Čović, the President of the HDZ BiH and Chairman of the House of Peoples.

The current Croat member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Željko Komšić is considered by many in the Croat community as an illegitimate representative of their interests. He ran as the candidate of his Democratic Front party in the Federation, where Croats and Bosniacs can vote for any candidate, regardless of which ethnic group the candidate belongs to. Croats argue that Komšić was elected due to votes cast by Bosniacs, the larger ethnic group. Bakir Izetbegović, the President of the Bosniac-dominated party the SDA rejects the claim.

"Mr. Čović and I have differing views on what is a legitimate representative. In my view, Mr. Komšić is a legitimate representative. He was legitimately elected in line with the Constitution and the law," Izetbegović said on Wednesday.

With no progress on a new electoral law, chances are the October general election will take place under the old rules.

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