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news 05 Mar 14

Bosnian Croat Leader Urges Three-Unit Federation

Amid talk of a third, Croat entity in Bosnia, a Bosnian Croat leader has said that another solution would be reorganising the current Federation entity, with its 10 cantons, into three larger units.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

Dragan Covic, head of the Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, the largest Croat party in Bosnia, said that the Federation entity should be reorganised into three units, which he said would strengthen Bosnia and Herzegovina and prevent its disintegration.

“I am convinced that we in the Federation can have... three units within the Federation which will assure rationality, too,” Covic said.

“Instead of the current 11 [cantonal and entity governments], three governments, and instead of 11 parliaments, three,” he added.

In an interview to Klix news website on March 5, he did not say precisely where those three units would lie but said that it could be one solution to the demand to reorganize the cumbersome Federation.

The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of two entities in the country along with the Serb-dominated Republika Srpska. It is mainly home to Croats and Bosniaks but the latter outnumber the former, which is why a growing number of Croats are calling for their own territorial unit.

The Bosniak-Croat entity is comprised of ten cantons which all function as mini-governments with their own ministries, prime ministers and other institutions, employing thousands of people and costing the country too much.

Covic suggested that his party should push for reforms of the Federation in cooperation with Bosniak parties.

“If we don't make a turn here, if we leave the same political organization of the state on the model we had in the past 15 years, I think that nothing will change,” he said.

“We can make some cuts through this system but it is by its nature unbearable and unmanageable,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Bosnian Serb leader, Milorad Dodik, has downplayed talk of an early referendum on the independence of Republika Srpska.

“A referendum is not a matter that can be pulled several times, it is done only once and whether it succeeds depends on judging the right time and way,” he said.

“I think that we cannot implement it at this moment, realistically it would be dangerous now,” he added.

Dodik said it was enough that the entity had empowered itself to organise such a vote if it wanted to.

“The Republika Srpska now has a law on the referendum and the National Assembly can decide to call referendum overnight,” Dodik said in Bijeljina on Tuesday.

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