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news 15 Nov 12

Bosnian Croat Parties Back Dodik-Lagumdzija Deal

The two biggest Croatian parties in Bosnia, the Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ BiH and HDZ 1990, said they supported the agreement of two leaders and are ready to start work on Bosnia's EU integration.

Elvira M. Jukic

Dragan Covic, leader of the HDZ BiH, and Bozo Ljubic, leader of the HDZ 1990, met in Mostar on November 14.

Besides supporting the recent controversial two-party deal, they said they saw the implementation of Bosnia's "EU Road Map" and the 2009 Sejdic-Finci ruling as priorities.

“The Road Map and the Sejdic-Finci ruling are priorities but in a way that all minorities' demands are respected but also that the position of the three constituent peoples is equal in terms of electing legitimate members of the State Presidency,” Ljubic said.

The Sejdic-Finci ruling of the European Court of Human Rights told Bosnia to change its constitution in order to allow ethnic minorities run for top governing posts that are currently reserved for the three largest ethnic groups, Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats.

The two Croatian parties said their community is not legitimately represented in the country's three-member State Presidency because the current Croatian member, Zeljko Komsic, was elected on mostly Bosniak votes.

Within the terms of the implementation of the Sejdic and Finci ruling, which has become the biggest obstacle for Bosnia in terms of EU integration, two Croatian parties want the State Parliament to choose members of the State Presidency instead of direct elections.

The idea is supported by the Social Democratic Party, SDP, led by Zlatko Lagumdzija, but has also met criticism. One of the chief critics, Zeljko Komsic, has since quit the SDP.

The HDZ BiH and HDZ 1990 also pledged support for Lagumdzija's agreement with Milorad Dodik, President of the Republika Srpska, but said they would propose some amendments when the country's six ruling parties meet on November 20 in Mostar.

Lagudzija and Dodik said their agreement had defined important solutions to improve the economy and the functioning of Bosnia's institutions.

Critics and opposition parties call it a plan to further weaken the state-level government and strengthen the hand of the major political parties.

Covic and Ljubic said on Wednesday in Mostar that they will emphasize the importance of of not allowing members of a different ethnic group to choose any representatives of the others.

The two added that while Bosnia's Federation entity is effectively run by Bosniaks, and Republika Srpska by Serbs, Croats are marginalised in the country.

“As long as we do not recognize each other as three constituent peoples which have equality and the same position, we will not end this political and institutional crisis,” Ljubic said.

The two meanwhile voiced criticisms of the work of the Office of the High Representative, OHR.

But, referring to Valentin Inzko's report on Tuesday to the UN Security Council, they said they were grateful that he had voiced Croatian problems in Bosnia.

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