Electoral reform is crucial for strengthening Bosnia’s institutional framework and strong and functional institutions are of key importance for BiH to get out of the current political crisis so politicians in the country must be willing to reach a compromise, US special envoy Matthew Palmer and European External Action Service (EEAS) director Angelina Eichhorst said after meeting with members of both houses of Bosnia’s Parliament.
Palmer explained that the goals of the ongoing negotiations are to ensure the integrity of the election process and that it is important that every vote is heard and taken into account.
He emphasised the importance of BiH citizens having the equal opportunity to run for any office at various government levels, which would ensure Bosnia’s European perspective and is fully in line with the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, the rights of three constituent peoples and others in the country and the setup based on two entities and the Brcko District.
Palmer also stressed the importance of functional institutions in Bosnia’s semi-autonomous Federation (FBiH) entity, arguing that it is important that the FBiH setup is in balance with the one in the other entity, Republika Srpska (RS).
Palmer said it is important that the rights of the constituent peoples are reflected in the institutional framework.
All this can be achieved, but “very little time left,” he said, noting that the issue should be resolved ahead of the elections in BiH in October.
Eichorst emphasized that the European Union and the United States remain committed to Bosnia and Herzegovina, its unity and sovereignty.
She said the meeting was successful and constructive and that it was a useful discussion.
She stressed that the current political crisis is unacceptable to the people of BiH, the EU and its partners and that she hopes members of Bosnia’s Parliamentary Assembly feel the same way.
Eichhorst argued that blockades of the work of the Parliament and institutions suspend all vital activities that should take place.
“The EU and all our member states call for an urgent unblocking of BiH institutions,” she said, explaining that she and Palmer are in the country to support talks that would go towards finding a solution and agreement in terms of amending the Constitution and the Election Law and amending discriminatory provisions it contains, which would improve the integrity of the entire election process in line with European and international standards.