Two of the three members of Bosnia’s Presidency, Sefik Dzaferovic and Zeljko Komsic, welcomed the decision of the High Representative of the international community to use his special powers to secure funds for the October 2022 election in BiH, while their Bosnian Serb colleague in the institution, Milorad Dodik, criticised it.
Christian Schmidt, who is the international community's official overseeing the civilian implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement in BiH, used the Bonn powers to impose the decision on Tuesday.
According to Dzaferovic, the Bosniak in the tripartite Presidency, the High Representative’s move was “forced by the manipulative behaviour” of the strongest Croat ethnic party in the country, the Croat Democratic Union (HDZ BiH), and its Finance Minister, Vjekoslav Bevanda.
“HDZ has been announcing for the past year or two that it will try to block the elections, which has obviously been the case in recent weeks,” Dzaferovic said, arguing that the Bevanda on Monday proposed a decision” which very quickly turned out to be unenforceable” with the goal to create another obstacle in the election process.
“I welcome the decision of the High Representative, which was necessary because, otherwise, the HDZ would challenge the basic democratic rights of citizens and because not holding elections would lead to an even bigger crisis in BiH, and no one has the right to do that. It will be necessary to analyse the decision, but it is extremely important that it solves financing in the future and prevents the recurrence of such situations,” he stressed.
Komsic, the Bosnian Croat in the Presidency, stated that Schmidt’s decision “ultimately represents the victory of the Bosnian political factor, ie healthy political options that played a constructive role with international partners during the long political struggle to hold elections that the HDZ sought to block.”
“It is important that they did not agree to political blackmail, in which an anti-European solution to the detriment of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina was sought through the blocking of the election process. Holding the October elections is an opportunity for the state political factor to overcome the policies of blackmail and blockades in a democratic and legal way so that they would not have similar problems in the future,” said Komsic.
Dodik previously rejected Schmidt’s decision, arguing that he is not the legitimate High Representative and thus should not have the power to impose it.