Bosnia’s Central Election Commission said on Tuesday that mandates in the Parliament of the Bosniak-Croat Federation (FBiH) entity will be distributed according to the 2013 census and not the one from 1991. The main Bosniak party immediately announced a lawsuit over the decision.
Which census will be applied became a burning issue after the October election. The two censuses show a very different population structure as a result of the ethnic cleansing during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia.
The results of it would be reflected in the power-sharing, would the new census be applied.
The head of the FBiH Statistics Agency, Emir Kremic, said a few weeks ago that the 1991 census is the only one that can be used to properly implement the October election results.
The Dayton Peace Agreement which ended the war contains a separate annexe which says that all displaced persons have to be able to return home. The refugee return annexe, however, has never been declared as implemented, neither by Bosnia’s top international administrator, the High Representative, nor by the country’s parliament, Kremic explained.
The other side’s argument is a ruling of the Constitutional Court which leans toward applying the 2013 census.
Regardless which decision the CIK was to make, one side would file a lawsuit.
On Tuesday, the Commission opted with five votes in favour and two against for the 2013 census, as proposed by its member Branko Petric.
CIK member Suad Arnautovic proposed the 1991 census to be applied.
“We tried to find common ground and it was not easy,” Petric said.
“All of this is about the national representation of the constituent peoples,” he explained, saying the decision will take effect on Wednesday and the ten cantons that make up the Bosniak-Croat Federation can start choosing lawmakers for the upper house of the FBiH Parliament.
The main Bosniak party in the country, the Party for Democratic Action (SDA), said the CIK’s decision was unconstitutional and announced it will take the issue to the country’s Constitutional Court.