The Bosnian Croat and Serb leaders' attempts at making Bosnia dysfunctional are futile and if they keep it up, the strongest Bosniak party in the country, the Democratic Action Party (SDA), will do everything that the 'Komsic' scenario happens on every possible level in the country, Deputy Speaker of the country's House of Peoples, SDA leader and the leader of Bosniaks Bakir Izetbegovic told N1's Amir Zukic Wednesday night.
“There won't be a third (Croat) entity, they (ethnically oriented Croat parties) can't even draw it on the map, let alone create it,” Izetbegovic said.
According to him, the largest Croat party, the Croat Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HDZ BiH) has made the elections pointless by not allowing their implementation.
“The HDZ BiH said there won't be any elections and government, but we still had those, one by one. They stopped the election of judges in the Constitutional Court without any explanation. This is a wrong behaviour and wrong policy. It diminishes our chances to achieve something,” the Bosniak leader said.
Izetbegovic said that the agreement he signed with HDZ BiH leader Dragan Covic which allows for elections to be held in the south-Bosnian city of Mostar for the first time since 2012, allows for the implementation of all the verdicts of the Constitutional Court as well as those from the Court for Human Rights.
“Legitimate representation of citizens is the axiom of democracy. Covic brings it down to an ethnic group. We signed that everyone will have the right to run for any position in the election. That's what Covic signed,” Izetbegovic explained.
In 2012, the country's Constitutional Court ruled that the Mostar's electoral statute was unconstitutional because its six electoral constituencies, which were formed according to the ethnic separation line between Croats and Bosniaks, each elected the same number of representatives to the city council despite having disproportionately different numbers of voters.
Since then, the two strongest parties in the city, the SDA and HDZ BiH, have been unable to agree on a law which would implement the Court's decision. This was finally resolved in June this year when Izetbegovic and Covic signed the Agreement allowing for the local election to be held in 2020.
“If he continues to act like this, he will only harm himself and will not get anything. Legitimate representatives have two rights – to be proportionally represented under the Constitution and to defend a vital national interest. Not to do what they are doing now,” Izetbegovic said and warned “if I have to choose between Komsic and Covic, I will choose Komsic. He is a patriot and I will work to attract left-oriented parties and make the SDA a Bosnian and civic party," Izetbegovic said.
Zeljko Komsic, the current Croat Presidency member of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency defeated Covic for the position with most votes allegedly coming from Bosniak voters. Following the election, Covic accused Komsic that he won with the help of Bosniak votes and Bosniak parties (primarily referring to the SDA), adding that Komsic is not a legitimate representative of the Croat people in the Presidency.
However, the Constitution only claims that the Presidency will consist of one Bosniak, one Croat and one Serb member, thus mirroring the ethnic makeup of the country. The Constitution never mentions the legitimacy of the Presidency members.
“If Covic continues with threats and cooperation with Milorad Dodik (the Bosnian Serb leader and head of the strongest Serb party – the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats – SNSD) and pressures, then the Komsic case will be brought down to other levels of government. We'll do everything to break all the mechanisms allowing for these things and we'll make Bosnia into a normal country,” Izetbegovic warned.
When asked about the Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, known for his anti-Bosnian attitudes who constantly repeats claims that Bosnia has no future and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic who speaks of respecting Bosnia's sovereignty but never mentions its territorial integrity, Izetbegovic said that they both can speak whatever they want but that Bosnia will continue to exist.
“Let them speak what they want, but it would better for them to give that up because our youth is leaving. The departure of young and healthy people can never be compensated with anything. And let me be clear to both the HDZ BiH and SNSD, they won't get any new mechanisms or third entities,” he told N1's Amir Zukic.
When Zukic confronted him that his party still entered a coalition with the HDZ BiH and SNSD, Izetbegovic responded saying he did not choose to partner with them, but that their voters did, because they elected them, and had the SDA rejected the coalition, there would be no government at the state or entity level. There would be a vacuum and a crisis, he said, adding that there were no alternatives from either side.
Speaking about the spike in unemployment following the new coronavirus pandemic, the Bosniak leader said the state will help the unemployed as much as it can but when the lockdown began, the rise in unemployment was inevitable. Compared to the EU's average, Bosnia suffered the least damage, he said, adding that the country is second only to Serbia in unemployment numbers.
When asked about corruption scandals from among the SDA ranks, Izetbegovic said the party has 1,000 government offices. “Corruption and crime will always happen and we will expel from our party every official convicted of these crimes. If you catch an SDA mayor with an envelope full of cash, we will expel him from the party, we won't even wait for the verdict,” he noted.
When N1's Zukic said that many party officials were tried for various crimes, Izetbegovic said: “Were. They were harassed, those cases cost them time, money, energy and in the end, the charges were dropped. What am I suppose to do with them – to write them off? Why should I write off a capable man? They all have experience rarely matched. They can still help the country and its people.”
Asked if he knows how ordinary people live, he said he never received a salary to a position, in hos life, without giving at least €500 for aid. During the pandemic, he said he gave two-thirds of his salary to humanitarian organisations and the remainder to pay of his loan.