“Terrible things” are happening in Bosnia and Herzegovina regarding the status of Croats who are the smallest group in that country but will not be treated as a minority, Croatian President, Zoran Milanovic, declared on Wednesday.
“What is happening there is not good at all and I think that Croatian authorities have shown laziness regarding it in the past few years. Those are terrible things and if it goes too far, we will have a serious problem in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” he said, pledging to fight for the rights of Bosnian Croats.
Croatian and Bosnian Croat officials have been pushing for changes to the country’s Election Law for years, arguing that Croats are not properly represented in the government.
According to Bosnia’s Constitution, the Bosniak and Bosnian Croat members of the tripartite Presidency are elected from the Federation entity (FBiH) - a federation of Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats, while the Bosnian Serb member is elected from the other entity, Republika Srpska (RS).
Many of the numerically superior Bosniaks in FBiH abandoned the principle of voting along ethnic lines and gave their vote to Zeljko Komsic, a Bosnian Croat who advocates a citizen-oriented society rather than an ethnicity-based.
In this way, Komsic’s voters effectively kicked the leader of the main Bosnian Croat party, Dragan Covic, out of the three-member presidency.
Covic had won most of the votes in Croat-majority areas but that was not enough.
“We are a country that advocates for a solution to be reached within Bosnia and Herzegovina and not for the dismemberment of the country, but at the same time we don’t want damage to be done to Croats who are the least numerous of the peoples there but will, I swear to God, not be a minority,” Milanovic declared.
“That is my stance and nobody in Croatia from the Croatian Democratic Union said this - as if it was dangerous to do so. Even if it was dangerous, and it isn’t, this is the job of a statesman. It is a matter of debt and honour, if (PM Andrej) Plenkovic doesn’t want to talk about it, I will find other interlocutors,” he added.