Published On: Pet, lis 28th, 2022

Bosnia And Herzegovina Hotbed Of Political Unrest And Disintegration Fears

Last Sunday’s elections in Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH), which saw a 50% voter turnout, while marked by continued electoral and political rape of Croats in that country as one of the three constitutional peoples (Bosniaks (Muslims), Serb and Croats) delivered results that put an end to the long-lasting reign within the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina of the corrupt and corrupting Muslim Izetbegovic “dynasty”. Readers may remember it was Alija Izetbegovic, President of the Presidency of BiH to 1998 and later member of the Presidency to 2001 and Islamic philosopher who died in 2003 and was succeeded in political leadership of his only son Bekir Izetbegovic. Bekir like his father heavily leaned towards creating an Islamic state in BiH and if that failed (which has not yet) then they both would undertake measures to degrade and belittle and oppress Croats living in the same regions of the country as Bosniaks or Muslims and under supposed equal constitutional rights as constitutional peoples.

Sunday 2 October election results have out of the long-standing incumbents on the Presidency confirmed Bekir Izetbegovic’s loss and exit. This result though does not mean that Croats in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina will now be free of pressures and oppressions that come their way from Muslims or Bosniaks and perhaps it is for that very reason the country’s top international envoy whose duty and role is to oversee the implementation of the 1995 Dayton Agreement for BiH, High Representative Christian Schmidt, decided to impose wide-ranging amendments to Bosnia’s Constitution immediately after the polls had closed on Sunday, which would spill into electoral law.

It has been years since the Constitutional Court in Bosnia and Herzegovina delivered a decision in late 2016 that the country’s electoral law be changed to accommodate a guarantee that each of the three constitutional peoples would elect their own representatives in the Presidency and other representative and governing bodies in the country. This is particularly and crucially important for Croats because they are in relative smaller numbers in the country and can be outvoted in cantons by others ethnic groups that also form the constitutional people.  Yet in all those years nothing had been changed in the country’s Electoral Law to accommodate the Constitutional Court’s decision from 2016 and it seems that Christian Schmidt has “put his foot down”!

The future three members of the BiH Presidency: Denis Becirovic (Muslim or Bosniak Representative on the Presidency who comes from Bekir Izetbegovic’s opposition), Zeljka Cvijanovic as Serb Representative, and Zeljko Komsic as Croat Representative. The electoral rape and utter unfairness of the country’s electoral law that places Croats at a dire disadvantage is highlighted with the fact that Borjana Kristo (HDZ Party), a candidate for Croat Representation on the Presidency, had won over 90% of Croat vote in towns and villages where in the Federation Croats live as majority ethnic group with Muslims and where, sadly and undemocratically HDZ has wielded corrupt power for decades that seems to have caused fear among many voters to vote away from HDZ because they may lose their job or perks they receive from HDZ for being politically loyal. But Muslims outnumber Croats in majority of places. Clearly Croats said a firm no to Zeljko Komsic as their Representative, but the Electoral Law favours him! It is believed that had HDZ not caused so much disappointment and existential fears among the Croats in the Federation, voter turnout would have been greater and other Croat political parties and candidates would have had a fighting chance to win significant number of seats.

Hence, the awful tragedy of electoral rape of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina continues!

Zeljko Komsic was, again, elected to the Presidency as Croat Representative by Bosniak or Muslim, not Croat vote!  Again, the electoral law was not changes as directed by the Bosnian Constitutional Court, which legislation would ensure that each of the three constitutional peoples (Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs) elect their own representatives.

Journalists rooting for status quo in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which permits oppression of Croats my Muslims or Bosniaks, will try and convince the world that the move High Representative Christian Schmidt made immediately after the polls closed on Sunday is destructive, illegal, unnecessary and that it threatens democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, forgetting that the 1995 Dayton Agreement which was about democracy and rights has been sabotaged and derailed too many times to count since then – not by the High Representative but by BiH politicians in power! Well, there is no democracy in the country to speak of as one of the three Constitutional people that are supposed to have the same rights as the other two continue to experience oppression and setbacks in asserting their rights. The truth is that Bosnia and Herzegovina is a corrupt political and economic pit where detrimental ethnic divisions are stronger than ever.

The surprise new intervention made on last Sunday by Schmidt changes the election law by raising the number of representatives in the Federation entity’s House of Peoples and the way they are chosen. The changes also include the deadline (one month) for the formation of the government after the election, as well as measures to ensure the functionality of the Bosniak and Croat-dominated Federation entity.

Schmidt, whose task is to oversee implementation of the 1995 peace accords that ended the 1992-95 war, also imposed changes to the Constitution of the Federation entity intending to ensure future functionality of its constitutional court and the selection process of the judges.

The US Embassy to Bosnia and Herzegovina welcomed Schmidt’s move, stating in its 4 October Press Release that the move would “bolster the stability and functionality of Bosnia and Herzegovina … This action was both urgent and necessary … The High Representative’s decision addresses problems that have plagued the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina for many years.  Four years after the 2018 elections, the Federation has not implemented the results, and the Federation Constitutional Court is nearly paralysed.  This has deprived Federation residents of their constitutional rights, undermined the rule of law, and emboldened ethno-nationalists across BiH.  Together, these problems threaten BiH’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and multiethnic character.”.

The British Ambassador to BiH, Julian Reilly, Tweeted on 3 October: “The United Kingdom supports the role played by the High Representative and his Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  It is a source of regret that the powers of the High Representative continue to be needed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but in the absence of domestic political 1/3”.

In essence, Schmidt has changed the formula for the appointment of delegates to the upper chamber of the Federation of BiH entity parliament, the House of Peoples. A widespread opinion came through these past days that this change will give the minorities more rights to be represented and when one looks at election results for representatives that went against Croats in areas where they are outnumbered by Muslims, one may sense a realistic hope that Croats will have a better chance now.

The measures package taken by Schmidt are said to “set the stage for further electoral and constitutional reform, including to meet BiH’s commitments for EU integration and to address concrete problems facing the country.  These measures also strengthen the constitutional safeguards provided by the Dayton Peace Agreement and the Constitution for constituent peoples while preventing abuse or paralysis of the system…”

The Prime Minister of Croatia, Andrej Plenkovic, welcomed the decision of the high representative of the international community, Christian Schmidt, which changed the electoral law of Bosnia and Herzegovina, pointing out that this ensured the political survival of the Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The other side to this medal is the fact that the Bosnian HDZ/Croatian Democratic Party, Andrej Plenkovic’s political party twin, is responsible for the atrocious situation regarding the continued oppression of Croats in BiH and the exodus or emigration of Croats in droves. That responsibility stems from the fact that HDZ in BiH has managed to stay in much of the power corridors and that stay did not always result from honest politics but from corrupt ones. Schmidt’s move for changes to the BiH Constitution seem like having delivered a licence of sorts for HDZ party to retain the power of maintaining a legislative and political gridlock on important matters in the Federation unless representation in the federation upper house chambers moves significantly away from HDZ. It is now up to Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina to vote away to HDZ in future elections.

President of Croatia, Zoran Milanovic, said that the High Representative Christian Schmidt “played underground, rat games” and that the electoral system in Bosnia and Herzegovina lacks representativeness, where anyone can elect anyone and then the smallest ones suffer.

“The death penalty for Croats, in the political sense, has been commuted to life imprisonment, and we must celebrate that. But this is a disaster for Croatian foreign policy, this is quisling behaviour.

“The Croats had one candidate (for the Presidency), they came out in good numbers and they failed to prevail. There is no help. In the next four years, Zagreb will either stand behind the rights of the Croats in BiH as a constituent nation or there will be no Croats there anymore,” Milanovic concluded.

The intervention after the polling had finished by the UN’s overseer Christian Schmidt is likely to dominate the post-election landscape and its effect on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s  national and political fortunes. So far, in the past thirty years BiH has been a hotbed of ethnic rivalries for power and supremacy of essentially nationalist parties, which have maintained power by stirring up sectarian divisions, while presiding over vast patronage networks which helped further cement their grip on people. But after nearly three decades of this as well as growing social and economic stagnation and decay Bosnia and Herzegovina may be ripe for the picking by external full control.

Will the moves to control stop with UN envoy Schmidt or will new winds blow in more control from the Islamic world via Turkey or from Orthodox Russia are questions that cannot be ignored.

What international actors should be concerned about is Russia’s offer of support to the Bosnian Serbs (the the Serbian Republic within BiH forged in genocide and ethnic cleansing of non-Serbs during the 1990’s war). Considering Russia’s recent and current encroachment upon eastern Ukraine and Crimea, it is not unthinkable that Moscow would collaborate with the Serbs to further expand its influence and control, fuelling conflict in the region. Russia has long championed secessionist Serb Milorad Dodik, and more recently Moscow has allied with China to threaten to strip the BiH High Representative’s powers.

Turkey’a President Erdogan has for years appeared to consider Bosnia and Herzegovina his turf, his second home… Turkey’s engagement with BiH has mostly been of a political nature but this was backed up by diverse business and cultural activities, often using the Ottoman legacy and Islam as leverage. Erdogan has had close relations with the Bosnian Muslim political parties and the detrimental effects on Croats have been visible for some years now. Islamic supremacy in the country, or Federation of BiH is a yearning only too visible.

In the absence of a tentative alternative to Dayton Agreement for BiH, rather widespread belief is that the fate of Bosnia and Herzegovina is inextricably tied to the fate of the High Representative as that body is its main bulwark against the forces of disintegration. Thuds from Russia and Turkey, and even China, are getting louder and louder though!

When it comes to visions for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s near and distant future, things are still as they were in 1995: Let’s wait and see! Anything can happen. And if Russia pushes harder to get Bosnian Serbs to sabotage any BiH EU accession and NATO membership ambitions and plans then matters of violent disintegration are surely to follow. Whether controlling forces come from Russia or Turkey with stronger resolve, or from both simultaneously, a great deal can develop including a new armed conflict. Regretfully!

October 7, 2022 by 

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Izmetbegović
Izmetbegović
1 mjesec prije

I ukratko, biće kako mi kršćani želimo u kršćanskoj EU.

Hercegovina - Rizvanbegovića Donbas
Hercegovina - Rizvanbegovića Donbas
Šta ti kažeš na ovo?  Izmetbegović
1 mjesec prije

Kakvi ste vi kršćani, palite svijeće komunjarama Praljku i Miloševiću, a znate vrlo dobro da je suicid Praljkovačom strogo zabranjen u Bibliji i vodi direkt u prvi kazan u pakao…

Izmetbegović
Izmetbegović
Šta ti kažeš na ovo?  Hercegovina - Rizvanbegovića Donbas
1 mjesec prije

I ti si kršćanin, vrati se.. 😁