The solution to the talks between US/EU officials and BiH political leaders on the BiH Election Law is possible if everyone would make the slightest step in that direction, the leader of the Democratic Action Party (SDA) Bakir Izetbegovic said during a break on Thursday, adding that western official made a strategic mistake of not including all the major parties in the country from the beginning of this discussion.
“I think they made a strategic mistake by insisting on talking only with the Croat Democratic Union (HDZ BiH) and the SDA and not enough with opposition as well as other parties. Everyone should be involved. This way they are creating the impression that something is being done without them behind closed doors,” Izetbegovic said.
He also noted that the US’ BiH Election Reform envoy Matthew Palmer and EU’s Angelina Eichhorst avoided talking about the blockade in the Federation (FBiH) entity Parliament until this Thursday, noting that the talks revolved around ways for Bosnian Croats to have a crucial role over other two BiH Presidency members, for the Croat majority to be able to elect their representative but also that ethnic prefixes be removed, which, according to Izetbegovic, was always rejected by Dragan Covic, the leader of the HDZ BiH.
Speaking about his relationship with Covic, Izetbegovic said he and his party made a grave mistake when they voted in favour of repealing the genocide denial ban in the country in the BiH House of Peoples. That move has gravely provoked the Bosniaks, diminishing the chance of finding a quick solution to the crisis in the country.
Covic: If we don't agree now, we never will
Speaking to the press, Covic said that if political leaders are not able to agree on amendments to the Election Law in these 12 months then he fears there will never be an agreement.
“Our position is very clear – that Croat people should elect their representatives in the House of Peoples and the Presidency of BiH.
Yesterday, the majority of representatives and Bosniak parties said that it was not good for someone else to elect representatives for Croats but when we come to defining that how to go about that a million questionnaires arise. Legitimate representation of constituent peoples has no alternative for our team. I think that the position of constituent peoples should be defined according to the model agreed in Mostar – applied to the level of the Federation of BiH,” Covic said.
He reiterated that there is little time to change the law and that they agreed to have another round of talks again in 10 days, adding that he urged everyone not to wait for Palmer but to organize talks themselves.
Answering the question regarding speculations that western officials were more on his side, the HDZ BiH leader said he felt the opposite.
Asked by N1’s reporter to comment on the HDZ BiH’s support to the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) proposal to abolish the genocide denial ban in BiH, Covic said the following:
“I do not owe anyone an explanation, I hope that I will never be in a position to decide in such a way in the House of Peoples. Izetbegovic and [Fahrudin] Radoncic (the leader of the Alliance for Better Future – SBB) were present when I told the international representatives that I would never again be part of the process of helping BiH in this way, for the price that I’m paying. If it hurt someone I apologize but I hope we will never be put in a position to get together like that again and to be encouraged in such a way just to be able to sit together.”