news 17 Oct 12

Bosnia High Representative Pushes Talks On Mostar 0

Representatives of eight political parties have met the representative of the international community in Bosnia to mull solutions for the divided city of Mostar.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

High Representative Valentin Inzko brought together the representatives of eight Bosnian political parties in Sarajevo on Tuesday to discuss solutions for the power crisis in Mostar, a city in the south of the country.

Tuesday's meeting was the first in the effort to find a solution that would allow local elections to be held in Mostar on the basis of an electoral system that is in line with the rulings of Bosnia's Constitutional Court.

Because of a dispute over the voting system, the residents of Mostar were the only ones who did not vote on October 7 when local elections were conducted across the country.

“The citizens of Mostar deserve to have a democratically elected legislature and executive in place with undisputed mandates and without any further delay,” Inzko said.

In November 2010 and February 2012 the Constitutional Court of Bosnia issued two rulings ordering that the electoral system be changed to give all voters the same rights.

This followed a complaint by Croats on the City Council who said their rights were being violated by an electoral system that gave Bosniaks the same number of councillors even though Croats are the majority group in the city.

Despite the rulings, the electoral system in Mostar has remained unchanged. Mostar's City Council is currently a unitary authority elected from six voting units. Each unit elects the same number of councillors regardless of the number of voters in the unit.

Mostar is an ethnically divided city and political power is mostly shared between two ethnically-based parties, the Party of Democratic Action, SDA, and the Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ. Although there have been no exact data on the population or ethnic structure of Mostar since the 1991 census, estimates indicate that Croats make up a majority of the city's residents.

On Tuesday Inzko emphasized the wider importance of implementing the Court’s decisions, saying it's obligatory for Bosnian politicians to follow the rulings.

“There are many things that are a matter of choice for institutions and politicians but the rule of law is not one of them,” he said.

Participants in the meeting on Tuesday said no concrete solutions were suggested but all sides reiterated their readiness to solve the issue quickly.

Sladjan Bevanda, a representative of the HDZ, told the media that the process of finding a solution for Mostar had finally started and that he hoped a quick agreement would be reached based on his party's position.

The HDZ has long argued that in 2004 when former High Representative Paddy Ashdown abolished the municipalities in Mostar, his only aim was to prevent Croats from having more power than Bosniaks, thus discriminating against them.

The SDA solution is to again divide Mostar into municipalities with authority over them given equally to Bosniaks and Croats.

Inzko's deputy Roderick Moore will hold bilateral meetings with all relevant parties in the coming weeks to move the political process forward as fast as possible, the OHR announced.

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Related Headlines:

23 Jan 17

The Balkans Today: 23th - 27th January 2017

Our team brings you live updates of the most important events and developments in the Balkans as they happen.

23 Jan 17

Redrawing Balkan Borders Would Shock Europe

20 Jan 17

Bosnian Serb Invites to Trump Gala Disputed

20 Jan 17

Birth of Trump Era Divides Balkan Countries

20 Jan 17

Croatian School Removes Anne Frank Exhibition

Premium Selection

politicians-red-lines-complicate-macedonia-s-government-talks-01-22-2017
23 Jan 17

‘Red Lines’ Complicate Macedonia’s Government Talks

The preconditions set by the ethnic Albanian parties on language rights and other issues will make the work of forming a new coalition government in Macedonia especially complex.

despite-the-boycott-the-import-from-serbia-increased-01-19-2017
23 Jan 17

Kosovo Shoppers Find it Hard to Shun Serbian Goods

The latest friction with Serbia over a train has revived calls in Kosovo for a boycott of Serbian products - but shops that do not stock Serbian goods remain few and far between.

20 Jan 17

Birth of Trump Era Divides Balkan Countries

18 Jan 17

Serbia Urged to Build on Results of 2016

17 Jan 17

Dodik’s Secession Talk Keeps Bosnia on Edge

17 Jan 17

Young Albanians Strike Gold in the Emirates

Latest News from the Balkans

20 Jan 17

Bosnian Serb Invites to Trump Gala Disputed

20 Jan 17

Croatian School Removes Anne Frank Exhibition

20 Jan 17

Croatia Accused of Forcing Asylum-Seekers Out