BiH: Foreign Institutions hail SDA-HDZ agreement on Mostar elections

BiH: Foreign Institutions hail SDA-HDZ agreement on Mostar elections

Foreign institutions, embassies and organisations welcomed the agreement that BiH political leaders reached on Wednesday, enabling the local elections in Mostar to take place after a 12-year deadlock, urging them to implement the necessary changes in parliamentary procedure as soon as possible.

“Holding municipal elections in Mostar is included among the 14 key priorities of the Commission’s Opinion on the EU membership application of BiH.  As regards the political agreement on further electoral reform, the EU recalls the need to fully address the Opinion key priorities for BiH to progress on its EU accession path,” European Commission President Josep Borell and Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi said in a joint statement, hours after the agreement that followed the talks mediated by the international community in BiH.

“While taking into account the country-specific context, election-related issues should be addressed in line with European standards. No legislative or political steps should be taken which would make the implementation of the European Court for Human Rights Sejdić-Finci ruling and related rulings more challenging. BiH also need to implement OSCE/ODIHR recommendations in order to improve the democratic quality of its electoral processes”, said the EU officials.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Mission in BiH also welcomed the consent that the Bosniak and Croat leaders reached on the Statute of the City of Mostar and electoral legislation, which will enable the local vote in this city after a 12-year deadlock.

“This is an important step forward towards finding a legislative solution for elections in Mostar. It is also proof that with the right commitment from political leaders, long-standing issues can be resolved,” said the Mission, expressing hope that the State Parliament will “consider legislative changes as soon as possible.”

“It remains critical to ensure a final resolution that guarantees that the citizens of Mostar can exercise their right to vote in the upcoming local elections. We hope that political leaders will use the momentum to also start addressing comprehensive election reform in line with the ODIHR recommendations,” the OSCE said, urging the competent authorities at the state level to secure funding for the upcoming local elections without further delays.

The US Embassy in Sarajevo also greeted the agreement, noting that it will pave the way for the citizens of Mostar to finally vote after 12 years.

In the meantime, seems that some of high BiH officials are not delighted with the agreement.

“As far as I can see, SDA and HDZ have agreed to try to deceive each other,” Croat member of the BiH Presidency, Željko Komšić briefly commented the agreement.

The agreement was signed in Mostar on Wednesday by Bakir Izetbegović and Dragan Čović, the leaders of the Democratic Party Action (SDA) and the Croat Democratic Union (HDZ BiH), in presence of foreign ambassadors and Mostar’s local politicians.

US Ambassador Eric Nelson, UK Ambassador Matthew Field, the international administrator in BiH, High Representative Valentin Inzko, and Head of the OSCE Mission in BiH Kathleen Kavalec also attended the Mostar meeting./ibna