- Published: 04.05.2022.
Grlić-Radman: Croatia will prevent further disenfranchisement of BiH Croats
Croatia's Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman criticised the decision by BiH's Central Electoral Commission (SIP) to call an election, claiming that it cannot interpret non-existing provisions of the country's election law and noting that Zagreb will prevent further disenfranchisement of BiH Croats.
"Croatia will continue to prevent any scenario... that are aimed at further disenfranchising and destabilising Croats in BiH. Croatia will not stand by passively. That is why I deliberately came here today to show that we will continue to be resolute and firm," Grlić Radman said and conveyed a message from Prime Minister Andrej Plenković about "support to issues that are of vital interest for the Croat people in BiH."
Grlić Radman was speaking to reporters in Mostar, ahead of a conference dedicated to BiH's European integration.
SIP called a general election for 2 October despite the fact that provisions on the way delegates are elected to the House of Peoples have been erased, and the only one to oppose SIP's decision was its Croat member Vlado Rogić.
According to Minister Grlić Radman, there were no legal preconditions for SIP to call the election.
"We believe that SIP has assumed the prerogatives of the constitution-maker and legislature, which it cannot do. It is an administrative body and is not competent with regard to the erased articles of the election law," said Grlić Radman, noting that the erased positions suggest the law is deficient.
In its ruling on a complaint by Božo Ljubić of the umbrella BiH Croat organisation HNS BiH in the summer of 2017, the BiH Constitutional Court erased provisions of the election law regulating the indirect election of deputies to the BiH Federation House of Peoples, the Bosniak-Croat entity parliament's upper chamber, asking the national parliament to amend them to prevent manipulation in the election of representatives of the three constituent peoples in that chamber.
The Constitutional Court also erased a provision under which each of the ten cantons in the entity had to elect a representative of the constituent peoples to the House of Peoples if they were elected to the cantonal assembly. That segment has remained undefined throughout the election reform process.
Grlić Radman believes that that job is within the remit of the state-level parliament and that SIP cannot decide on the composition of the BiH Federation House of Peoples.
"The House of Peoples is a constitutional category and it cannot be filled by an administrative body," he underscored.
He expressed disappointment that the largest Bosniak party - SDA - had obstructed the election reform and added that outvoting Croats in BiH would not do good to anyone.
Grlić Radman, who was participating in a conference entitled "Preparing for Tomorrow: Europe's Global and Regional Role in Responding to Transnational Challenges", said Croatia wanted BiH and other Southeast European countries to join the EU as soon as possible.
BiH's Deputy Foreign Minister Josip Brkić said that there was no alternative to membership in the EU and NATO for BiH and the entire region.
"We are living the alternative now - an unstable and questionable economic and political situation, not just in BiH but in the entire Southeast Europe, which will stabilise in the future in the EU and become a better place to live in," said Brkić.