International peace envoy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who imposed changes to the country's electoral legislation hours after the polling stations were closed on the day of the general elections on Sunday, said that his decision will “in no way affect the will of the voters and the outcome of the 2022 General Elections.”
On Sunday, hours after the polling stations closed, High Representative Christian Schmidt passed a decision amending the Election Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the Constitution of the Federation entity (FBiH), one of two Bosnia's semi-autonomous regions where the power is shared by the Bosniaks and the Croats, two of three Bosnia's constituent peoples.
The High Representative's decision was officially called ‘Measures to improve Federation Functionality’ and had an immediate effect.
“October 2 decisions of the High Representative refer to the functioning of FBiH institutions, streamlining of government formation procedures, alleviating blockades and abuse of safeguarding mechanisms in legislative as well as judicial bodies. They in no way affect the will of the voters and the outcome of the 2022 General Elections. Elections belong to the voters,” said the Office of the High Representative, the international community's envoy, who oversees the peace implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and was assigned with special powers to impose laws and dismiss officials.
It reminded that the High Representative has “repeatedly assured that he will insist on respecting and implementing the will of the voters in the government formation process, which has not been the case in the FBiH in the past four years.”
The Office also denied the claims that the imposing of decisions on the election day undermines the legitimacy legitimacy of the election process.
“The decisions of the High Representative in no way relate to direct elections, nor do they undermine the integrity and legitimacy of the electoral process. The intention of these decisions is to prevent blockades of FBiH institutions, of which there were plenty in the previous election cycle, and the government formation process itself,” the High Representative stressed, reminding that although they were given as much time as possible to unblock the Federation's institutions, the political actors failed to do so.
“Not only did they fail to reach an agreement, they concluded the entire four-year term in a technical mandate. Any additional delays with these decisions would only create more space for blockades and for disrespecting the will of the voters,” the statement said.
Finally, referring to the allegations that the High Representative discriminated the Others because his decisions did not refer to the elections for the Presidency and the House of Peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the international envoy's office stressed that only the Parliament of BiH has the right to change the provisions of the Constitution of BiH.
“Therefore, the October 2 decisions are not part of the greater electoral reform which remains necessary to address BiH's international obligations and alleviate discrimination in the electoral process,” it added.