Bosniak Leaders Agree on Election Law Reform Principles

Leaders of the four main Bosniak parties agreed on a united front in the anticipated talks on the election law reform with the Bosnian Croat parties.

In a meeting in Sarajevo, facilitated by the United States and European Union envoys to Bosnia, the leaders of DF, SBB, SDA and SDP agreed to push for a reduced role of the Federation entity’s House of Peoples, as to refashion it into a body similar to Republika Srpska’s Council of Peoples. That would make the House a panel that decides on the so-called “vital national interest” violation claims, rather than a parliament chamber that passes laws.

Bakir Izetbegović, Nermin Nikšić, Fahrudin Radončić and Željko Komšić told the reporters after the meeting that the number of members of the future House of Peoples is open for discussion. They also agreed that the number of the House members from Bosnia’s three main groups – Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs – should be defined according to the 1991 population census, which reflects the population and ethnicity figures before the Bosnian war and ethnic cleansing, rather than the latest census, held in 2013.

The election law needs to be amended by May in order to implement a ruling of Bosnia’s Constitutional Court, which declared the legal provisions on the election rules for the Federation’s House of Peoples unconstitutional. Bosnia’s Central Election Commission is expected to call general elections in May. The elections are supposed to be held in October.

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