While the unprincipled, and behind-the-scenes fight for the majority in the Bosniak Caucus in the House of Peoples of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) continues, the question arises as to how it would have looked and whether it would have come to the fore to this extent if the High Representative had not imposed a decision to change the Constitution of the FBiH and the Election Law on election night.
If Christian Schmidt had not changed the rules of the game a few minutes after the end of the election, the SDA would not have been able to prevent them from being thrown out of power at the federal level, because a third of the delegates (6 out of 17) per caucus would have been sufficient to nominate delegates for the vice president of the FBiH.
According to the old rules, in order to block the process, you needed at least 12 (out of 17) delegates in one of the ethnic caucuses, a number that could only be achieved by the HDZ or in cooperation with coalition partners from the Croatian National Assembly (HNS).
Both Sarajevo political blocs would have a minimum of 6 delegates in the Bosniak caucus and could propose a candidate for the FBiH vice president. The truth is that the SDA would have more, but in the end, it would not change anything in terms of the possibility of bypassing this party when forming the government. Likewise, the Coalition of Eight would have enough delegates in the Serbian caucus to propose a vice president from among the Serbian people.
The decision would be in the hands of Dragan Covic on which of the blocs he would bring into power because, in the event that they sided with one or the other bloc in the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the FBiH, they would have the upper hand. Such a possibility also exists in the new constitutional and legal framework. In the event that no party or coalition in the Bosniak caucus gets 13 delegates, it would practically mean that the opposing bloc cannot propose a candidate for the vice president of FBiH at all.
In this regard, NiP president Elmedin Konakovic recently spoke out, commenting on the current filling of the House of Peoples and the decision of the High Representative.
”The lottery will decide whether we will have more than 12 or 13. We have enough of these stable ones to be able to propose the vice-president and president of FBiH in the Bosniak Caucus, along with the unfortunately late decision of Christian Schmidt, which favors only SDA. If the old proposal model had remained, things would have already been completed, coalitions would have been signed and no one would have tried to block the processes in the Bosniak caucus,” Konakovic stated.
Konakovic correctly analyzed the situation in the Bosniak caucus, but he ignored the principles that the HDZ has adhered to for many years, that they form the government, if they are already able to decide, only with those parties that have majority support within their people, as measured by the Houses of the People. No amount of pressure from the international community would change that because HDZ never gambled with the principle of ”ethnic legitimacy”.
If the position of the HDZ in both variants of the law, and in the context of the current results, is unavoidable, the question arises, what is the essential difference between Schmidt’s changes? Covic explained it vividly.
”Those who fantasized about controlling the Croat caucus, that story is over forever. The struggle of Sarajevo politics today is how to control the Serb caucus and Bosniak caucus. There is no more interest in the Croat caucus,” Covic explained.
In other words, Schmidt made the Croatian caucus of the House of Peoples of FBiH almost untouchable for civil parties. However, at the same time, he made the situation difficult for them in the Bosniak caucus.
Given that the focus of all political actors was shifted to the cantonal assemblies that elect delegates to the FBiH House of Peoples, it became obvious that Schmidt, with his decision, transferred the political struggle to the people’s caucuses to the greatest extent, diminishing the importance of the House of Representatives of the FBiH Parliament, at least in the process of forming the Government of the FBiH.
He further complicated the process of bypassing national parties in the process of forming the government. In practice, we see that the Trojka, which consists mostly of civil parties, must form broad, inconsistent, and ideologically heterogeneous coalitions in order to prevent the SDA from controlling the Bosniak caucus with the hope that no one will change sides at the last moment.
Even if he manages to satisfy the interests of a minimum of eight parties, if we ignore the very functionality of such a Government, it would be more than challenging. Besides, the situation in this sense will not be any simpler in any future election cycle. All this is only the result of Schmidt’s decision, and that is why the insufficiently strong resistance to the imposed solutions, especially from the SDP and Our Party, is unclear, Klix.ba reports.