Dragan Covic: Too late to change election law but no crisis

Dragan Covic: Too late to change election law but no crisis Izvor: Anadolija

It is too late to change the Election Law but that does not mean the country is facing a crisis, said Bosnian Croat leader, Dragan Covic, on Tuesday.

Those who win the October election will form a government fast, perhaps faster than ever, Covic told reporters at the opening of a Croatian consulate in the central Bosnian town of Vitez.

“We have discussed the Election law for a long time, for two years, and nobody wanted to support it. Now it’s too late for changing it but we can still talk about it,” Covic said.

Two years ago, the Constitutional Court ruled in favor of a Bosnian Croat plaintiff who argued that it is against the constitution for one ethnic group to elect officials who should be representing another group in the government. Bosniaks by far outnumber Bosnian Croats in the Federation, the country's semi-autonomous entity the two groups share, and they elected both the Bosniak and the Croat member of the tripartite Presidency twice.

To avoid that, the law should ensure the representatives of ethnic groups are really elected by those groups, the plaintiff argued.

But to implement such a verdict would mean organizing ethnic-based elections in Bosnia, something the Bosniaks vehemently oppose, arguing it goes against EU principles.

However, since the paragraphs regulating matters like this in the Election Law were declared unconstitutional, the court declared them invalid and ordered legislators to adopt amendments in line with the Constitution. Politicians failed to do so, opening the door for a post-election crisis and for the possibility for the results to be declared invalid.

“Let me emphasize that Bosnia and Herzegovina should not face a crisis. There will be no crisis before or after the election, I can assure you that,” Covic said.

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