The president of Bosnia and Herzegovina's Central Electoral Commission (CEC), Suad Arnautovic, on Wednesday resolutely rejected objections to the legality of calling an election but confirmed the existence of unacceptable discrimination against voters based on ethnicity or place of residence. Pročitaj više
After CEC decided to call a general election for 2 October based on the provisions of the present law, Arnautovic told reporters in Sarajevo that that was the only thing to do because the law has to be respected.
He believes that deferring the election because a political agreement on election reforms has not been reached would be a violation of BiH citizens’ fundamental right and that no one should be allowed to deprive voters of their right to go the polls every four years.
“The question is whether the aim of those who are opposed is for BiH to cease functioning as a democratic state,” said Arnautovic.
He declined to comment on the objections by Croat officials regarding the legality of the election process, saying that that was the job of state officials and not CEC.
He confirmed that it was high time the election law was reformed but underscored that its greatest weakness was what the European Court of Human Rights identified in five of its rulings, namely that the right to choose members of the state presidency, the upper house of the state and entity parliaments, and entity presidents and vice presidents is based on ethnicity and residency in one of the two entities.
“That is segregational exclusiveness by which ethnicity and residency determine active and passive voting rights. That is unacceptable segregation of voters,” said Arnautovic.
One of CEC's Croat members, Vlado Rogic, reiterated his objection regarding the legality of the election saying that the law is deficient after the Constitutional Court ruling in the Ljubic case repealed some parts of the election law that defined that at least one delegate from each of the constituent peoples from each cantonal council was to be elected to the House of Peoples.
Arnautovic said he did not see anything disputable about the legal provisions instructing CEC to determine after each Population Census the number and ethnic distribution of MPs being delegated from cantonal councils to the Federation entity's House of Peoples.
That is how this body was formed after the election four years ago, however, Rogic believes that implementing acts cannot permanently compensate for missing legislative provisions.
According to the latest electoral roll, just over 3.37 million people will be entitled to vote in the October election. Citizens living abroad will be able to register and vote by post or at diplomatic missions.
CEC expects the government to secure the funds for the election within the next 15 days as provided for by law.