Bosnia's former foreign minister Zlatko Lagumdzija urged the international community's peace envoy in Bosnia and Herzegovina Christian Schmidt not to impose any laws concerning election process except those that would secure the control over voting process and count of votes i.e. that would prevent electoral frauds.
“We call on high representative to take today's protest of citizens in the right way – this is a warning and the last peaceful call for preserving the fundaments of the (Dayton) peace Agreement and strengthening of the Euro-Atlantic road of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a state and society of common values,” said Lagumdzija and called on the authorities and opposition to make sure the protest would be peaceful.
He also said that the protest should serve as a call for “common sense, responsibility and be a clear sign that we won't allow the division of the country and the return to the past that was sentenced in The Hague.”
N1 reported several days ago, learning from diplomatic sources, that Schmidt, who oversees the peace implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and has special powers to impose laws and dismiss officials, would impose amendments to Bosnia's Election Law and the Constitution of the Federation BiH, Bosniak-Croat shared part of the country.
This would be the third time Schmidt uses the so-called Bonn powers after assuming office in August 2021. First time he did so to annull a law on immovable property in Republika Srpska, Bosnia's Serb-dominated entity and the second time to secure the financing of the October elections.
The media report sparked reactions among pro-Bosnian political parties and academia, who warned that such changes would mean more discrimination and further divisions among Bosnia's major ethnic groups. Specifically, they warned the law changes would go in favour of the major Croat ethnic party HDZ BiH, one of the key parties in political talks on electoral reform which so far yielded no results.
It also led to organising of a peaceful protest in front of the Office of the High Representative to take place on Monday.
Dervo Sejdic, the appellant before the European Court of Human Rights called the announced law changes “racist,” noting that this might finally unite the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.