Russia is working together with the ruling Bosnian Croat and Bosnian Serb parties on the destruction of Bosnia’s plans to join NATO, and the Alliance, as well as the EU, must support forces that oppose the ethnic division, the leader of the opposition Democratic Front (DF) party said in a statement.
Zeljko Komsic is a Bosnian Croat who was twice elected to represent the Croats in the country’s three-member presidency, but he won the election both times thanks to the votes of liberal Bosniaks who like his anti-nationalist ideas.
The main Bosnian Croat party, the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HDZBiH), said he was not a true Croat and because of his election, the party asked for the Election Law to be changed so that Bosniaks can only vote for Bosniaks, Croats for Croats and Serbs for Serbs.
This would be in harmony of the country’s constitution, which was written when peace was negotiated in 1995. The concept, however, would lead to the cementing of the country’s ethnic divisions and take it further away from EU membership, as it violates the European Human Rights Convention and does not allow minorities to ever run for top political positions such as president or Upper House lawmaker.
The law has to be changed before the October election but Bosniaks refuse to accept a further division and an election law that would violate human rights even further. But if the changes are not adopted, the forthcoming election could be declared invalid. On the top of that, Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, from the Alliance of Social Democrats (SNSD), is advocating the independence of the Bosnian Serb sub-state, Republika Srpska.
His party is preventing the country from fulfilling a condition NATO had set for Bosnia to make the next step toward membership: to turn all military facilities in the country into state property and not the property of the two Bosnian sub-states. Bosnia’s path toward NATO membership is stuck because of this since 2010, but that suits the Bosnian Serb leadership which said their voters do not like NATO anyway.
The Election Law issue is linked to the military facilities problem. One is obstructed by the HDZBiH and the other by the SNSD, and both prevent Bosnia from proceeding toward EU and NATO membership, Komsic said.
The head of the HDZBiH, Dragan Covic, and Dodik share the goal of dividing Bosnia and that suits Russia as well, he explained.
“Our EU and NATO friends have recognized the Russian influence on those structures (HDZBiH and SNSD) in time and that’s important,” he said.
But it is now more important that NATO and the EU “support even more the forces that advocate a citizen model,” rather than the current ethnic one, Komsic said.
“Russia, the HDZBiH and the SNSD are working together and we can prevent their plan to destroy Bosnia’s NATO path only with joint determination,” he said.
“This is the only way for Bosnia to gain speed on its Euro-Atlantic integration path,” he added.