The members of Bosnia's top electoral body condemned on Friday the comments that Bosnia Presidency Chairman Milorad Dodik made about the ethnicity of one of their colleagues, with some members assessing such comments as “monstrous.”
Dodik addressed media on Thursday criticising the decision of the Central Election Commission to annul the results of the 2020 local election in most of the polling stations in Srebrenica and Doboj. But, he also said that one of the Commission members from Republika Srpska, Bosnia's Serb-majority region, Vanja Bjelica-Prutina, who voted in favour, was actually only presenting herself as a Serb while being married to a Bosniak in Sarajevo.
The comment sparked criticism on social media mostly, but a day later the US Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina also condemned any personal attack on public servants and expressed support to the Commission's work.
The Central Election Commission members asked for the reaction of Bosnia's State Prosecutor's Office and gender centres.
“A word in public said by the Chairman is five-fold heavier than the one said by someone else. This is a free country where citizens are entitled to rights, their private rights. The words addressed to our colleague yesterday clearly jeopardise the fundamental human rights of the citizens of this country. What was said yesterday was monstrous,” stressed Commission Chairman Zeljko Bakalar, calling for the protection of the CEC member and the CEC as a whole.
He also called for the reaction of the public, the gender centres and the Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Commission member Irena Hadziabdic said that “this has to stop” or “it would leave serious consequences.”
She also assessed the Presidency Chairman's statement as “monstrous.”
Ahmet Santic, the Commission member, recalled that other officials in this institution were subject of many insults, being called “thieves and criminals.”
The time has come for the CEC to be protected, he added.