Electoral reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the formation of an inter-agency working group that would work on this process were on agenda on Tuesday again during a meeting of Bosnian Parliament leaders with US Ambassador Eric Nelson, EU Special Representative Johann Sattler and Head of the OSCE Mission in BiH Kathleen Kavalec.
According to the statement by the US Embassy, the ambassadors emphasised the importance of a “credible institutional process for electoral reform.”
“Action is with BiH Parliament and the Council of Ministers to convene the inter-agency working group (IAWG) without delay to focus on meaningful and achievable electoral reforms needed for the EU path and for citizens confidence in the electoral process,” the US Embassy said, adding:
“The IAWG process must be inclusive and transparent to credibly implement the three pillars of reform: limited constitutional change to address ECHR rulings, election law changes to implement BiH Constitutional Court rulings, and technical reform to improve election integrity.”
Ambassadors Eric Nelson, @KathleenKavalec and @josattler met BiH Parliamentary leaders today regarding the importance of a credible institutional process for electoral reform. pic.twitter.com/XlyU189dwE
— US Embassy Sarajevo (@USEmbassySJJ) March 16, 2021
The OSCE Mission to BiH also confirmed the attendance in the meeting, noting that the discussion pointed out the importance of a “broad, inclusive approach that includes the Central Election Commission and civil society representatives.”
The importance of a broad, inclusive approach that includes @izbori_ba & civil society representatives was also stressed as essential for a credible process that meets ODIHR standards. https://t.co/ww5gFYqI2Q
— OSCE Mission to BiH ?? (@OSCEBiH) March 16, 2021
Electoral legislation has been a burning issue for years in Bosnia and Herzegovina, ever since the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled in 2009 that BiH must allow the minorities the right to run for certain posts, and later in 2016 when Bosnia's Constitutional Court ruled in favour of a Croat politician who complained about the law provision dictating that cantons delegate at least one representative from each of the country’s three main ethnic groups to the upper chamber of the Federation (FBiH), the semi-autonomous entity in the country shared mostly between Bosniaks and Croats.
What the Croat politicians demand is ensuring that their representatives in authority cannot be elected by the people of different ethnic groups, while the Bosniak politicians say the reform should also include the changes to the Constitution.
Political talks with the mediation of foreign actors in BiH restarted recently again, with the SDA and HDZ BiH party leaders being the only participants for now but including other parliamentary parties in talks has already been announced.