No one will tell me what event I can and cannot attend, Bosnian Croat leader and leader of the Croat Democratic Union (HDZ BiH) Dragan Covic said, responding to the question about his presence at the celebration of the unconstitutional ‘RS Day.’
“The public has been manipulated. It was just a formal address. The HDZ BiH and the Croat National Assembly (HNS) will continue fighting for their legitimate representation, in cooperation with the Bosniak and Serb people and no one will decide on our behalf whether we will show up at a formal ceremony or not,” Covic said at a press conference on Monday.
According to him, he does not care whether his presence at a ceremony will be manipulated with or not and he urged everyone to stop the hate speech concerning his presence marking January 9, the unconstitutional ‘RS Day.’
The Republika Srpska (RS) entity authorities marked the holiday on Wednesday despite a 2015 decision of the state-level Constitutional Court which acted upon a motion of a Bosniak politician and said that marking the RS Day on January 9 was unconstitutional.
According to the court, marking January 9 as the RS Day discriminates non-Serbs in this entity since this date is also the Orthodox day of St. Stephen.
The authorities in this Serb-dominated entity never approved the decision and continued observing the date.When asked to comment on Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic’s statement concerning his presence at the ceremony, Covic said that no one commented on Bishop Komarica’s award from 2012 which he received on January 9, the ‘RS Day.’
Right after the ceremony which was also attended by the Croatian Ambassador to Bosnia, Ivan Del Vechio, the Croatian Prime Minister asked that the Ambassador be recalled and said that Covic’s HDZ BiH and the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) are two independent parties.
Del Vechio’s attendance eventually led to his dismissal from the post. Right before his dismissal, he told N1 that he was not there to attend the ceremony, but to meet with Milorad Dodik, the Bosnian Serb leader and Chairman of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency.