News in English

Different views of the Working Group members on electing BiH Presidency members

Text: Aida Kovač, Photo/Archive

SARAJEVO, July 23 (FENA) - Members of the Interdepartmental Working Group for Amendments to the Election Legislation of BiH today discussed proposals for amendments to the Election Law of BiH related to Chapter 8 - "Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina" and Chapter 9 - "Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina".

Regarding the election of members of the Presidency of BiH, the proposals submitted by members of the working group from the SDA, Alma Čolo and Dževad Mahmutović, the proposal of the HDZ BiH and the proposal of amendments to the Election Law of BiH proposed by the Democratic Front (DF) were discussed.

Before discussing the proposed changes to the BiH Election Law, a member of the working group, Munib Jusufović (SBBBiH), said that the issue of changing the BiH Constitution was raised.

"Let's agree on whether we will implement the judgments of the Strasbourg Court and change the Constitution. If we want it, we have to change the Constitution, that one article, and then we have to discuss various proposals for changes to the Election Law. Or if we do not, then we can only talk about the Election Law," said Jusufović.

Member of the working group Dženan Đonlagić (Democratic Front) believes that this is not a dilemma at all and that 'no' is not an answer.

According to him, "if we are going to change the Election Law, which implies the implementation of all judgments of the International Court of Justice in Strasbourg, then there is no doubt that, along with changes to those articles of the Election Law, it is necessary to adopt an accompanying amendment to the BiH Constitution."

A member of the working group Borjana Krišto (HDZ BiH) said that the proposals they are discussing today must have a constitutional basis.

"They have no constitutional basis today. It is not something new, nor do any of us want to offer some foundation through these proposals until we agree on changes to the Constitution, she said.

She added that the HDZ and its political representatives are open to talks and a review of other proposals.

"Our proposal in Article 8.1 of the Election Law states that members of the Presidency of BiH who are directly elected from the territory of FBiH - one representative of Bosniaks and one of Croats - are elected by voters entered in the Central Voters Register in the Federation of BiH. That voter can vote for a Bosniak or Croat member of the Presidency of BiH, but not for either of them," said Krišto.

She added that "the purpose is for the legitimacy to be derived from the people and to belong to the people, and that someone can represent themselves however they feel, as a member of one of the nations or minorities."

This proposal provoked a rather heated discussion of the members of the Interdepartmental Working Group.

A member of the Working Group, Saša Magazinović (SDP BiH), who is a Serb, asked Krišto where should he be registered as a candidate for example, in which of these constituencies, in order to be a candidate for a member of the Presidency of BiH, to which Krišto answered: "whatever he wants".

The proposal is unclear to me, where should I move to in this country to be a candidate, who will relocate me, and in what way?" Magazinović asked.

Krišto replied that anyone, regardless of nationality and being a member of the constituent people or not being a member, can register as a candidate.

Magazinović further asked Krišto whose candidate he will be when running in the Federation of BiH, "will I be running for a Bosniak or a Croat member of the Presidency?"

A member of the working group Dženan Đonlagić (DF) said that he heard yesterday that someone who declares himself as a Roma can run for a Bosniak member of the Presidency of BiH.

"This is outright racism what you are proposing. How did it even occur to you to put this on paper? It is not just that this is far from the implementation of international judgments, this is a step backward. I cannot believe that you tell a man who declares himself a Serb and who lives in the Federation of BiH that he can run for a Bosniak or a Croat member of the Presidency of BiH. Is that normal at all?" Džonlagić asked Krišto.

He pointed out that the proposal offered by the DF was something completely opposite to that of the HDZ BiH.

"The implementation of all judgments implies the deletion of the ethnic determinant. Anyone wishing to run in this country must not be discriminated against on the basis of ethnicity and place of residence. That is the essence of the whole story, that someone has the freedom to run regardless of where they live and how one declares themselves or does not declare at all," Džonlagić pointed out.

In another discussion, Saša Magazinović said that this was "unconstitutional, frivolous, an apartheid, uncivilized, contrary to human rights..."

"It is unbelievable that someone in the 21st century publicly proposes to a colleague from the Parliament, who was elected directly in the elections, to run in the elections, but to decide whether to run as a Bosniak or a Croat, even though he is neither of those two. So, I have two options, as an elected official - one is to change my place of residence, to be displaced, or to give up my identity. We have a law that says you can be a candidate either if you leave your home where you were born or if you give up your identity," Magazinović pointed out.