Voice of America turned to the State Department seeking the official position of the US Government regarding the announced imposition of the Election Law in Bosnia and Herzegovina by High Representative Christian Schmidt.
The State Department says unequivocally that it will support whatever decision the high representative makes. They note that decisions on the use of Bonn powers are exclusively the choice of the High Representative.
“Decisions on the use of Bonn powers are given exclusively to the high representative. He will choose whether, when and how to use them,” said the spokesperson of the State Department, and added that the US will support “any decision the high representative makes.”
The spokesman declined to comment on the details of the possible reforms.
“At this moment, we will not comment on the potential reforms mentioned in the media. We repeat, the decision on the use of the Bonn powers is the exclusive competence of the Office of the High Representative,” the response states.
By August 1st, High Representative Christian Schmidt will impose measures for the re-functioning of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH), it was confirmed by several diplomatic sources.
In the draft decision, which has already been sent to the addresses of the embassies in BiH, there are changes to the Election Law in relation to the functioning of the houses, the election of the leadership of the FBiH, the election of judges of the Constitutional Court of FBiH, as well as numerous changes that should ensure the integrity of the election process.
This draft decision, among other things, states that the passability of the law will be improved by a regulation by which each house (House of Representatives and House of People) is obliged to reject or adopt the law within the exact period after the law has been approved in the other house.
(Each house is expected to reject or approve the necessary laws within 45 days of approval in the other chamber. If the deadline is not met, the law will be included in the agenda of that houseat the session after the expiration of the 45-day period, and no later than within 30 days from the expiration of that period.”)
The definition of vital national interests will be simplified. The protection of the vital national interest can no longer be invoked on all issues, but only on the issues listed in the Constitution. The Council for the Protection of Vital National Interests at the Constitutional Court will consider all these issues.
The discussion on the formation of the government will be carried out by successively reducing the voting threshold for the appointment of candidates for the Presidency of the FBiH if the delegates do not propose candidates within the given deadlines. The votes of at least 8 delegates in each club of the House of Peoples of the FBiH are required to nominate a candidate. If a caucusfails to nominate a candidate within 30 days, the number of delegates required to do so will be reduced to 5. If this also fails to result in a nomination, a nomination will be possible from any group of 2 delegates after an additional 30 days.
The distribution of mandates in the House of Peoples of the FBiH will be more representative in the distribution to the constituent peoples from each canton. The current regulation has led to the sometimes unbalanced representation of the constituent peoples of the FBiH in the House of Peoples. Only cantons where one constituent nation makes up more than 3% of the total population of that constituent nation in the entire FBiH will elect delegates of that constituent nation to the House of Peoples of FBiH. However, a safeguard mechanism will be included in the Election Law to ensure that all cantons are represented in the House of Peoples. This rule equally protects Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats living in cantons where they are a numerical minority.
The functionality of the FBiH institutions must be re-established in order to avoid a scenario where one or more parties block the institutions. Therefore, it is necessary for the constituent nations to have firm constitutional guarantees under the Dayton Peace Agreement, while ensuring that these guarantees cannot be misused to paralyze the system, ” it was stated in the explanation of the draft measures that should be officially published by August 1st.