BH Bloc wants Bosnia to have one president


A coalition of three left-leaning parties under the name ‘BH Bloc’ set its conditions for entering any further coalitions on the state level on Thursday and proposed the resurrection of a package of constitutional reforms that failed to be passed in 2006 and included drastic changes such as the country having one president instead of three.

The parliamentary majority in Bosnia will following the October General Election be formed by the three main ethnic-oriented political parties in the country – the Bosnian Serb Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), the Bosnian Croat Democratic Union (HDZ) and the Bosniak Party for Democratic Action (SDA).

But SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic recently said that in order for Bosnia to have a stable government, another partner would be needed. He mentioned the BH Bloc, which consists of three non-ethnically affiliated left-leaning parties – the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Our Party (NS) and the Democratic Front (DF).

The BH Bloc on Thursday announced that those who want to work together with them must accept several key requirements, including the introduction of electronic voting in elections, the dismissal of members of the Central Election Commission, the forming of state-level ministries for European integration, education and sports and the implementation of the rulings of the European Court for Human Rights concerning Bosnia.

But they also proposed that members of the country’s Presidency should be elected by the Parliament and not in a direct election and said they would prefer Bosnia to have one president instead of three.

“I don’t know of any country in Europe that has a collective head of state. But we have accepted it as normal to we have a collective head of state, consisting of three members who cannot sit in the same room due to decoration issues,” said NS leader Predrag Kojovic, referring to a recent disagreement between the Presidency members over what flags should be displayed in common areas of the Presidency.

“We are asking for one symbolic president as they have in Germany. I don’t know the names of the presidents of Germany, Italy or Israel, but we all know who the prime ministers of those countries are,” he said.

Bosnia’s Presidency now consists of three members who rotate as chairman every eight months. The April Package of reforms proposed one president and two deputies who would also rotate periodically.

But the SNSD firmly rejected the idea.

“Right away I have to say, from the perspective of the SNSD, the return of the April Package will not be accepted,” said SNSD’s Nebojsa Radmanovic.

The BH Bloc also agreed on a set of common principles the would advocate for, such as the introduction of extraordinary elections, the harmonisation of the roles and competencies of the House of Peoples in the Bosniak-Croat majority semi-autonomous Federation (FBiH) entity with those of the Council of Peoples in the other, Serb-dominated Republika Srpska (RS) entity, adoption of laws on foreign affairs and the modernisation of Bosnia’s Armed Forces.