Croatian President Zoran Milanovic called on Bosnian Croats to vote in Sunday's general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina, "reiterating once more that he will protect their 'constitutionality' and equality in that country," state news agency Hina reported on Friday.
Sunday’s vote could again result in Bosnian Croats “being outvoted,” and Milanovic reiterated in a statement that the elections will again be held under an election law which “restricts the possibility to elect legitimate Bosnian Croat representatives” at many government levels, Hina said.
“In such circumstances, when it is questionable if they will be able to elect their legitimate representatives, the only way they can try and ensure their right to legitimate representation is that as many as possible vote,” he said.
He called on all Bosnian Croats eligible to vote to go to the polls and “attempt to democratically protect and ensure their rights” by voting for their “true representatives.”
Milanovic reiterated that the “protection of the rights of Bosnian Croats” was a “constitutional obligation and Croatia’s state interest.”
“Bosnian Croats are a constituent people, just as Bosniaks and Bosnian Serbs, and ensuring full respect for their right as a constituent people is necessary not just as a key prerequisite for their survival, but also as a foundation for the stability and functioning of BiH,” he said.
He underlined that, regardless of the election results, as president, he would do all in his power to protect “the constitutionality and equality of Bosnian Croats.”
In doing that, he said, he hopes to have “more concrete and more resolute support” from the Croatian government, first and foremost in EU and NATO bodies.
“Since Croatia is a full member of those organizations, not just on paper, it has the instruments which, as a serious sovereign state, it must use to protect its national interests in deed, not just words,” Milanovic said.
“An integral and stable Bosnia is in Croatia’s interest, with which Croatia will build friendly and partner relations,” he added.
“Milanovic said he was certain that Bosnian Croats were the “link preventing the further destabilization and erosion of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Hina said. “It is Croatia’s duty to do everything so that Bosnian Croats remain a constituent people in Bosnia and that they have their legitimate representatives at all government levels,” he added.