Milanovic calls Komsic's reelection “disaster and disgrace” for Croatia

NEWS 04.10.2022 13:42
Source: Zoran Milanović (N1/Ivan Hrstić)

The reelection of Zeljko Komsic as the Croat representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina's tripartite presidency is "a disaster and a disgrace" for Croatia and also a byword for Croatia's passivity, Croatian President Zoran Milanović said on Tuesday.

He commented that the decisions made by High Representative Christian Schmidt to amend the electoral law in Bosnia and Herzegovina represent “one big nothing”.

“Komsic has been reelected again. For a year and a half, I have been trying and sometimes I have managed to shout at international forums, in NATO primarily, about this topic,” Milanovic said in Zagreb when asked by the press about his opinion on the outcome of Sunday's general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On Sunday, Komsic was elected as the Croat representative in the state-level three-member presidency for the fourth time. The other two members will be SDP official Denis Becirovic as the Bosniak representative and Zeljka Cvijanovic of Milorad Dodik's SNSD party as the Serb representative.

Milanovic congratulated Cvijanovic and Becirovic on their victory, and reiterated that Komsic “was foisted” on the Croats. Komsic has shown contempt for those whom he is supposed to represent, and he is not welcome in Croat-populated areas where the electorate does not vote for him, Milanovic elaborated.

Schmidt's decisions

The international community's High Representative Christian Schmidt on Sunday used his sweeping Bonn powers to impose changes to the election law concerning the organisation and functioning of the upper House of Peoples of the Parliament of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the country's Bosniak-Croat entity, and the decision-making process. The changes are perceived to benefit Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

However, President Milanovic today said that Schmidt's decisions produced nothing.

His decisions mean that “the death penalty for Croats (in Bosnia and Herzegovina) is replaced by a life sentence,” Milanovic said figuratively.

Milanovic insists that these decisions had no reference to the Ljubic case. If there is a reference, then you must remove Komsic and this prompts a series of measures, he added.

The Croatian president said that the HDZ BiH party, however, could have some reason for satisfaction with the outcome of Sunday's polls “as they did not fare poorly in the communities where the Croats make up a majority of the population.”

However, the HDZ is not the Croat people, Milanovic said, adding that he could understand HDZ BiH leader Dragan Čovic and his endeavours to achieve a balance.

“Zagreb must stand by the rights of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina or there will be no Croats there,” he said.

In reference to Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman's claim that credit for Komsic's reelection went to Milanovic as well, the president called him “a mediocre man” whom Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic appointed minister as somebody who would not mar Plenkovic's foreign affairs activities.

On Monday, Grlic Radman said that the outvoting of Croats was doing long-term damage to institutional functioning and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to future relations between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. He said that Komsic had received “tens of thousands of votes” thanks to the rhetoric of Milanovic, “who did harm to certain processes that could have ended better.”

Milanovic “confused the High Representative and other actors in Bosnia and Herzegovina” with his statements and probably contributed to “the radicalisation of the political scene” there, the minister said.

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