FM Kovač slams violence during Bosnian vote

FM Kovač slams violence during Bosnian vote

Zagreb, October 10, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

Croatia’s outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Bozo Petrov and Foreign Minister Miro Kovač visited Stolac, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) on Sunday and condemned an incident during local elections there last Sunday, when a Bosniak candidate for municipal head beat up two Croat members of the election commission, which led to voting in Stolac being stopped.

County police reported 27 persons over the incident, including the Bosniak candidate, Salmir Kaplan of the Party of Democratic Action, and two Social Democratic Party officials. They were reported for physical assault.

“What happened in Stolac is a consequence of the years-long policy in BiH, where Croats have been discriminated against and constituent only on paper,” Petrov said after meeting with Stolac municipal head Stjepan Bošković.

Petrov said it was unacceptable that an official was assaulted and nothing was done about it, without “even one party from the Bosniak establishment condemning that.”

He called for respecting the constitutional and legal order in BiH and repeating the election in Stolac in line with the rule of law. “We will always support Croats in BiH because I believe that Croatia should do that,” he said, adding that this did not mean meddling in BiH’s internal affairs.

Kovač too condemned the assault on the election officials, saying it was unacceptable that the perpetrators had not been punished. “We reject the undermining of BiH’s constitutional and legal order. We clearly condemn the (recent) referendum in (the Bosnian Serb entity). We also condemn the violence that took place in Stolac. We expect elections to be held in a democratic spirit, in line with BiH’s constitution and laws.”

Photo: Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs