Should the Central Election Commission (CIK BiH) use the 2013 census of population when forming the House of Peoples (HoP) in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) entity, they would threaten Bosnia’s survival, said the Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Nermin Niksic in an interview with N1’s Amir Zukic.
“That would mean the definite victory of those policies that failed to achieve their goals during the war and that were sentenced for genocide and joint criminal enterprise,” Niksic said. “People in the CIK BiH must be aware that such a decision would be contrary to the FBiH Constitution.”
Niksic noted that using the 2013 census would mean the end of the need for multiethnic parties in the country and that one party could stay in power forever.
The 1991 census is important because it prevents the implementation of results of ethnic cleansing and other war crimes in practice, he added.
The State election law stipulates that the CIK BiH should decide on the division of mandates in the FBiH HoP after every election, but the CIK Bih has not done so since the last census of population.
On the other hand, the FBiH Constitution stipulates that all demographic decisions should be made according to the 1991 census in order to tackle the results of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, as much as possible.
The Dayton Peace Agreement that ended the 1992-95 war in Bosnia prescribed in its Annexe VII that everybody who was forced to leave their home during the war has the right return. The idea was to erase the results of ethnic cleansing, which in practice turned the once mixed Yugoslav republic into clusters of ethnic-based enclaves.
The Agreement also prescribed that until the expelled return home, the division of power in the communities will be distributed according to the 1991 census, the one before the ethnic cleansing.
However, nationalists have obstructed the return of refugees ever since the end of the conflict and the Annex VII has never been fully implemented. Meanwhile, the 2013 census has exposed the full extent of the ethnic cleansing effects.
When it comes to the government formation in the FBiH, Niksic told N1’s Amir Zukic that the bloc gathered around the SDP represents a strong civic bloc which is a force to be reckoned with in the FBiH Parliament.
“I can understand the frustration of those who have been in power for the past several mandates. They don’t want to accept the fact that government can be formed without them,” he said.
The bloc consists of the SDP, the Democratic Front (DF), Our Party (NS) and the Civic Alliance (GS) and together they have more chance to form a government at the state level than the Democratic Action Party (SDA), Croat Democratic Union (HDZ BiH) and the Alliance of Independence Social Democrats (SNSD), who ruled in the past two mandates.
The SDA, HDZ BiH and SNSD are the three strongest nationalist parties each representing one of three constituent peoples in Bosnia, Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs.
However, Niksic said that he respects the election results these three achieved.
“We’re not stopping them from forming the government, but we also said we wouldn’t sit idly. That’s why we started forming the government where ever we had a parliamentary majority.”