Politics

Dragan Čović For Euractiv: Stop Discrimination Against Minorities And Outvoting of Croats

By 4 May 2021
Dragan Čović For Euractiv: Stop Discrimination Against Minorities And Outvoting of Croats
screenshot / Hrvatska radiotelevizija

ZAGREB, 4 May, 2021 - HDZ BiH party leader Dragan Čović on Tuesday called for amending Bosnia and Herzegovina's election law to put an end to discrimination against ethnic minorities, whose members cannot run for the country's top posts, as well as to the outvoting of Croats as the smallest constituent ethnic group.

"It is intolerable that a part of our citizenry, including Roma and Jews, cannot run as candidates for the top state institutions. Creating just and fair solutions to these challenges, including through limited constitutional change, is one of the HDZ's major priorities in the election legislation alternatives we are proposing," the leader of the biggest BiH Croat party says in a commentary published by Euractiv and forwarded to the local media.

Čović notes that this is crucial for the country's progress towards EU membership as is putting an end to the outvoting of Croats.

"It is unconstitutional that the most populous community selects and determines who will represent the smallest constituent community, yet this is what is happening to the Croats and others in Bosnia and Herzegovina...

"We must adjust and reaffirm a power-sharing system in Bosnia Herzegovina that guarantees equal rights and does not discriminate against anyone," says Čović.

"This non-election year provides a chance we cannot afford to miss, in the implementation of electoral, rule of law, and economic reforms necessary for a path forward to EU and NATO membership," says Čović.

The European Court of Human Rights has made several rulings, of which the best known is the ruling in the Sejdić-Finci case, which calls for an end to discrimination against candidates wo do not identify themselves as Bosniaks, Croats or Serbs since they cannot run or be elected to the state presidency and the parliament's upper chamber, called the House of Peoples.

In its ruling of 2016 in the Ljubić case, the BiH Constitutional Court called for changing the election law to prevent the outvoting of constituent ethnic groups in elections for ethnically-designed institutions.

This has caused disputes about changes to the election law that have been going on for several years.

In 2020, Čović and Bosniak SDA party leader Bakir Izetbegović signed two documents on the reform of the election law with the mediation of US, EU and British diplomats, the OSCE Mission and the Office of the High Representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

One of the documents refers to ensuring conditions for local elections in Mostar and the other to changes to the election law to implement rulings of the European Court of Human Rights and enable legitimate political representation for the three constituent peoples in line with the BiH Constitutional Court ruling in the Ljubić case.

For more about Croats in BiH, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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