Zeljko Komsic for N1: Real winner of 2022 election in Bosnia is HDZ BiH


The real winner of the 2022 general elections in BiH is the Croat Democratic Union (HDZ BiH) as their position in the government has become cemented by the High Representative for BiH Christian Schmidt’s Sunday decision regarding the Election Law, BiH Presidency member Zeljko Komsic told N1 in his first interview after the reelection for the office.

Speaking about his election campaign and the vote, he said he was always certain he would win and when the votes from the BiH diaspora come in he expects his lead over his opponent Borjana Kristo (HDZ BiH) to grow even further.

According to the BiH election watchdog’s preliminary results, after counting some 85 percent of the vote, Komsic won 53.61 percent while Kristo won 46.39 percent of the vote.

“In 2018 the HDZ BiH announced everything it was doing to ensure the victory of [party leader] Dragan Covic, so to speak. This year they did not publish anything but they worked in the same way. The HDZ BiH has won many votes, and Mrs Kristo got about the same number of votes as Covic”.

Komsic pointed out that the real winner of the General Election is actually HDZ BiH, which is even encouraged by the Sunday decision of High Representative Christian Schmidt who imposed a set of changes aimed at improving the functioning of the government in Bosnia’s Federation entity.

The High Representative which is in charge of overseeing the civilian implementation of the Dayton peace Agreement that ended the 1992-1995 war in BiH has the power to impose laws, and amendments to the existing laws as well as sanction politicians deemed to be in violation of the Dayton Agreement.

The package includes amendments to the Election Law and the Federation Constitution, and only relates to the post-election establishment of indirectly elected bodies. It was also emphasised that the decisions do no treat the court decisions regarding the rights of ‘Others’ (‘Sejdic-Finci’, ‘Zornic’, and other cases) “as doing so is ultra vires, or outside the jurisdiction of the High Representative.”

“Actually, the real winner of these elections is the HDZ Bih, let's not lie to ourselves. They are additionally cemented a bit more by Schmidt's decision. In the situation, as it is in Sarajevo, the HDZ BiH will be in a situation to choose between the Democratic Action Party (SDA) on one side and this troika or whatever it is called (the SDA’s opposition) on the other. The price for whoever the HDZ BiH chooses will be high. It will be the Electoral Law, a continuation of what the HDZ asked for, to organize the future Presidency in the way they want,” Komsic said.

Speaking about Election Law reform, Komsic said it will most certainly happen.

“It will certainly happen because there will be a lot of trade in this regard. Regardless of all the finesse of the talks and negotiations and what was promised in previous negotiations, HDZ BiH will no longer be naive on this matter,” the Croat Presidency member said.

Asked how he commented on the victory of Denis Bećirovic for the position of the Bosniak Presidency member, Komsic said that he thought the difference between him and Democratic Action Party’s (SDA) Bakir Izetbegovic would be smaller.

“Actually, the odium that exists towards Izetbegovic was obvious, especially in Sarajevo. I thought there would be a smaller difference, honestly, but here are the results. Unbelievably, SDA has an excellent result but the party leader does not follow the party. This means that a large part of the SDA is dissatisfied with Izetbegovic. A similar thing happened to Sulejman Tihic [the former party leader]. Whether he admits it or not, that's how it is for him. One should learn from these messages that the people send you during the elections, and if one is wise, one will follow that flow. It's still 2:1 for BiH [in the Presidency]”.

The Serb Presidency member will be Zeljka Cvijanovic from the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), the ruling party in Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity, known for its secessionist rhetoric.

He noted that he hopes Cvijanovic will lead a different policy than that of her Larty leader and incumbent Serb Presidency member Milorad Dodik.

“As I said last night, I hope that there won’t be the arrogance and primitivism that we have seen for [the past] four years. It was painful to watch, and then you catch yourself being ashamed of what he's doing.”

Asked if he and his party will change course in the next mandate, he said no.

“I will certainly not bow to HDZ BiH's demands. If that means I'm not going to power, I'm not going to power. Knowing what I know now and, in this situation, I would rather choose the opposition. But don't take my word for it, because I stress I’m saying this with regard to the present situation,” Komsic concluded.