MEP and Bundestag member ask Schmidt to withdraw BiH Election Law decision

F.Z./N1/Anadolija/BeFunky montaža

Dutch MEP Tineke Strik and member of the German Bundestag Boris Mijatovic sent an open letter to the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Christian Schmidt, regarding his decision to impose changes to the BiH Election Law related to the Federation of BiH (FBiH) entity, asking him to withdraw the decision and to allow the democratic process to find a solution to the problem. They also asked him to explain speculations about coordination with official Zagreb when making the decision.

“We express our deepest dissatisfaction regarding your use of the Bonn Powers on the very closing hour of Election Day. Your decision makes extensive changes to the electoral law system – in an attempt to unblock the political process. The fact that the election law was changed in such a manner that the results of the elections were influenced after voters had cast their votes, does not testify of much respect for the democratic rights of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We fear that this decision has the potential risk to undermine the authority of the OHR as an institution in the long run,” they wrote, among other things.

They recalled Annex III of the Dayton Peace Agreement, which stipulates that the elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be held in accordance with the relevant documents of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

“The OSCE Guidelines for Reviewing a Legal Framework for Elections’ state that ‘the electoral legislation of a country should be enacted sufficiently in advance of elections to enable voters and all participants to be informed of the rules’. Electoral legislation enacted at the “last minute” has the potential to undermine trust in the process and diminish the opportunity for political participants and voters to become familiar with the rules of the electoral process in a timely manner,” Tineke and Mijatovic wrote.

They also called on Schmidt to to elaborate on the way in which his use of the Bonn Powers complies with these relevant provisions by the OSCE. An independent assessment by the OSCE of your proposals would therefore also be welcomed.”

The entire letter can be read on the link below.