The decision of the High Representative Christan Schmidt on the amendments to the Electoral Law in the technical part was published on the website of the OHR.
The decision will take effect immediately. It enters into force on a temporary basis until the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina adopts it in the same form, without amendments and without additional conditions.
The following is the full decision by the HR: In the exercise of the powers vested in the High Representative by Article V of Annex 10 (Agreement on Civilian Implementation of the Peace Settlement) to the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to which the High Representative is the final authority in theatre regarding interpretation of the said Agreement on the Civilian Implementation of the Peace Settlement; and considering in particular Article II.1. (d) of the last said Agreement, according to the terms of which the High Representative shall “Facilitate, as the High Representative judges necessary, the resolution of any difficulties arising in connection with civilian implementation”;
Recalling paragraph XI.2 of the Conclusions of the Peace Implementation Conference held in Bonn on 9 and 10 December 1997, in which the Peace Implementation Council welcomed the High Representative’s intention to use his final authority in theatre regarding interpretation of the Agreement on the Civilian Implementation of the Peace Settlement in order to facilitate the resolution of any difficulties as aforesaid “by making binding decisions, as he judges necessary” on certain issues including (under sub-paragraph (c) thereof) “measures to ensure implementation of the Peace Agreement throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina and its Entities”;
Recalling further Paragraph 4 of Resolution 1174 (1998) of the United Nations Security Council of 15 June 1998, by which the Security Council, under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter “… reaffirms that the High Representative is the final authority in theatre regarding the interpretation of Annex 10 on civilian implementation of the Peace Agreement and that in case of dispute he may give his interpretation and make recommendations, and make binding decisions as he judges necessary on issues as elaborated by the Peace Implementation Council in Bonn on 9 and 10 December 1997”;
Noting that the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina states that Bosnia and Herzegovina shall be a democratic state, which shall operate under the rule of law and with free and democratic elections;
Bearing in mind the prominent place that elections have under the General Framework Agreement for Peace and the need to guarantee that elections held on October 2, 2022 are free, fair and democratic;
Reaffirming that the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina must be able to exercise their democratic rights in the free, fair and democratic elections and that the conditions for such elections exists in spite of the inability of their political leaders to reach a compromise on electoral reform;
Guided by the need to strengthen the integrity of elections and to improve the management of election process in a transparent manner by giving the Central Election Commission the means to efficiently sanction violations of the rules of conduct in the election campaign, all with the aim to bring the election law in line with international standards and good practices for democratic election as recommended by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and underlined in European Commission’s Opinion on the EU membership application of BiH;
Welcoming the efforts of the European Union and the United States of America to facilitate an agreement on electoral reform that would address the decisions of the European Court on Human Rights and of the Constitutional Court as well as the deficiencies related to the integrity of the electoral process that were identified by international institutions, including the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights or the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe.
Regretting that political parties were unable to use that process to reach agreement on the constitutional and electoral reforms needed to restore citizens’ confidence and required by the European Commission’s Opinion on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s membership application.
Strongly urging all political parties to refrain from negative, divisive and irresponsible rhetoric, appealing to authorities to ensure integrity of the electoral process and calling on citizens to cast their vote;
Recalling that the tone of the past campaigns has been largely negative and polarizing, with an emphasis on nationalism, personal attacks, references to the Bosnia and Herzegovina’s wartime past and fearmongering which overshadowed socio-economic issues, such as corruption, unemployment, migration and education;
Confident that the amendments hereinafter do not alter the electoral system of Bosnia and Herzegovina nor have any impact on activities undertaken by the Central Election Commission of BiH;
Noting that the reforms necessary to move on integration within the European Union include electoral reform and will need to be tackled after the elections;