City councillors in Mostar annulled on Wednesday their previous conclusion which said that they will elect the mayor through a public vote and decided to repeat the process, but this time through a secret vote as demanded by Bosnia’s international administrator.
The new City Council of Mostar held its first session last week where it elected its leadership and formed the clubs of representatives of constituent peoples in the body.
The mayoral vote was, however, postponed because none of the candidates won enough votes and another round was set for February 10.
The candidate of the HDZ BiH, Mario Kordic, and the candidate of the ‘Coalition for Mostar’, led by the SDA, Zlatko Guzin, passed the first round.
Kordic received 14 votes, Guzin 11 and Irma Baralija, the candidate of the lef-leaning BH Bloc coalition, received five votes. Five councillors abstained.
However, according to the international official tasked with overseeing the civilian implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, High Representative Valentin Inzko, the vote was not conducted according to the Statute of the City of Mostar as it was public. The vote must be secret, he demanded on Monday.
Inzko reminded that he had previously clearly expressed his opinion regarding the application of this provision of the Statute in his decision repealing a conclusion by the City Council from 2009 that said the vote should be public.
“As the final authority in the country regarding the interpretation of the Agreement on the implementation of the civilian part of the Peace Treaty, I call on you to take the necessary steps to remedy this situation by repeating the current procedural steps governing the election of the Mayor of Mostar, including the first round of voting for the mayor, and in this way to harmonize the election procedure fully with the Statute of the City of Mostar, and especially with paragraph 1 of Article 36 of the said Statute,” Inzko said.
All 35 councillors unanimously decided to implement Inzko’s request.
They also allowed the candidacy of Arman Zalihic, a member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), which is part of the BH Bloc.