Bosnia Misses Deadline To Change Constitution


By Drazen Remikovic

Despite an August 31st deadline set by EU officials, the 13 parliamentary parties for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) again failed to reach a compromise that would allow for constitutional and electoral changes enabling ethnic minorities to run for the country’s top posts.

Official in Brussels and minorities are disssatisfied due to the unchanged constitution, while politicians hoping to find a solution in near future.

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Andy McGuffie, spokesperson of the EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative, said that the tasks for BiH to move forward on the EU agenda are well known and unchanged.

”All political leaders and representatives of BiH agreed on June 27th in Brussels on these tasks and corresponding timelines,” McGuffie told SETimes. ”It is entirely the responsibility of BiH leaders to make progress on the commitments undertaken. The EU expects concrete results in implementing the roadmap if BiH wants to progress in its European path. This is where the focus should be in advance of upcoming timelines.”

For more than three years, the ruling parties have been debating a solution to implement the 2009 European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling that the country’s constitution, delineated by the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, contains discriminatory and unlawful provisions that must be amended.

The Dayton Agreement established a tri-partite presidency rotating among a Bosnian Croat, a Bosniak and a Bosnian Serb. The constitution and electoral law state that only members of the three constituent ethnic groups are eligible to stand for election to the tripartite presidency and parliament.

In 2006, Bosnian Jewish official Jakob Finci and Roma representative Dervo Sejdic sued BiH in the ECHR for discrimination. Falling outside of the three main ethnic groups, Jews and Roma, along with an estimated 14 other minority groups, are not eligible candidates for the presidency or parliament.

Sefik Dzaferovic, president of the parliamentary committee tasked to implement the judgment, expressed regret that no agreement was reached.

“The commission has made a proposal for implementation of the judgment and it is not accepted. After that, political parties was told to make their own proposals. Unfortunately, even that did not result in success. I hope that agreement about implementing the verdict will be reached as soon as possible,” Dzaferovic told SETimes.

Finci told SETimes that political leaders once again showed irresponsibility and that they have lost all credibility.

“We tricked Europe once again. Europe didn’t set this deadline, we did. Instead of one good proposal, the parties have submitted several proposals, none of which is good enough. We have nothing from theirs stories and promises. We can see everything in practice,” Finci said

BiH political leaders needed to harmonise their various positions and respond to EU requirements in order to fulfill their roadmap by November 1st. However, many are sceptical about whether BiH will succeed.

Zoran Djeric, vice president of the Party of Democratic Progress (PDP), said that the patience of the international community is near its end and that it is very possible that BiH can expect sanctions because of these moves.

“The citizens of BiH have once again tricked and the authorities have once again demonstrated that they are incapable of fulfilling the tasks set in front of them. It is up to people now to punish this kind of behavior of politicians, in the upcoming elections,” Djeric told SETimes.


The Southeast European Times Web site is a central source of news and information about Southeastern Europe in ten languages: Albanian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, English, Greek, Macedonian, Romanian, Serbian and Turkish. The Southeast European Times is sponsored by the US European Command, the joint military command responsible for US operations in 52 countries. EUCOM is committed to promoting stability, co-operation and prosperity in the region.

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