By Eldin Hadzovic
The constituent session of the upper house of parliament of Bosnia’s Bosniak-Croat Federation will not be held on March 10, as had been announced.
The four parties with a majority in the parliament of the Bosniak-Croat entity said the constituent session of the House of Peoples of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina would be postponed for another seven days.
“This is a time limit within which we expect to elect delegates from the remaining cantons and complete the House of Peoples,” the parties said in a joint statement.
The four parties, gathered in a bloc around the Social Democratic Party, SDP – the Party of Democratic Action, SDA, the Croatian Party of Rights, HSP, and the Prosperity Through Work Party, NSRB, once again called on the two largest Bosnian Croat parties, the HDZ and HDZ 1990, to stop their “blockade” of the formation of cantonal governments, and so allow formation of the House of Peoples of the Federation.
“We invite representatives of both the HDZs to work together with us… towards the establishment of institutional equality for all of Bosnia’s peoples and citizens,” the statement reads.
Sources close to the coalition said the delay was agreed after the US State Department and the European Union sent a letter suggesting that the session should not be held until delegates from all cantons had been elected to the House of Peoples.
The leader of the Social Democrats, Zlatko Lagumdzija, earlier pledged that the Federation would get a government by the end of March. But there is still no agreement between him and the HDZ leader, Dragan Covic.
The Social Democrats and their coalition partners cannot form the House of Peoples also because Bosnia’s Central Election Commission maintains that a constitutive session of the House of Peoples cannot be held until all ten cantons in the Federation have elected their representatives to the Federation parliament.
The mainly Bosniak [Muslim] and Croat entity has not had a government for five months since Bosnia’s last general elections, because of dissent between the SDP and the main Croatian parties, the Croatian Democratic Union BiH, HDZ BiH, and HDZ 1990.
The two Croatian parties refused to sign up to the SDP’s coalition’s election “platform”, but have since insisted on joining the government after winning the 2010 elections in the mainly Croat cantons.
The SDP head, Lagumdzija, and the HDZ leader, Covic, held another meeting on Wednesday in Sarajevo, but failed to agree on forming governments at either Federation or state levels.