Jewish minority representative: I slipped in an empty ballot

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Source: N1

The great number of irregular ballots, some 500,000 of them, at the recent general election are the result of citizens' discontent with the fact that they had no one to vote for, said Jakob Finci, one of the authors of the lawsuit against Bosnia in the 'Sejdic and Finci' case for discrimination against Bosnia's non-constituent peoples.

“Bosnian citizens who don't belong to the constituent peoples didn’t want to vote for Bosnian tripartite Presidency candidates, especially because some parties agreed that members of one people shouldn’t vote for another people’s representatives,” Finci told the Nezavisne novine daily. “This means that Bosniaks and Croats in the semi-autonomous, Serb dominated, Republika Srpska (RS) entity have no one to vote for, just like Serbs in the semi-autonomous entity of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH), dominated by Bosniaks and Croats. However, when it comes to minority representatives in the country, they have no one to vote for, at all.”

Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of two entities, the RS and the FBiH, as well as the District of Brcko to the north of the country. the District is not dominated by any of the three peoples.

In 2009, the Roma representative Dervo Sejdic and former Head of the Jewish Community, Jakob Finci, sued Bosnia for its discriminatory Constitution barring them – as they are neither Bosniaks, Croats or Serbs – from running for Presidency. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled in favour of Sejdic and Finci, saying the state is discriminating against them as a Roma and a Jew.

The Constitution which stipulates that Bosnia's Presidency consists of three representatives coming from each of the said constituent peoples was never amended despite this ruling.

Finci said that he himself had slipped in an empty ballot when voting for the state Presidency.

However, he adds he is still an optimist when it comes to the implementation of the ‘Sejdic and Finci’ verdict.

“During the campaign, every candidate said that there is no alternative to Bosnia’s EU accession, and if Bosnia really wants to become an EU member state, it will have to amend the Constitution. Everyone who won at the recent general election has that in mind because they promised they’d work hard on Bosnia’s EU path,” Finci added.

He called on all parties to let go of their maximalist demands and to make sure that Bosnia gets a new government, as soon as possible.