Čović: To meet conditions for obtaining candidate status by June

Čović: To meet conditions for obtaining candidate status by June

MOSTAR, March 5 (FENA) – President of the Croat Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HDZ BiH) Dragan Čović is convinced that by the end of June the BiH Parliamentary Assembly will adopt amendments to the BiH Election Law, as well as everything else needed to make Bosnia and Herzegovina receive candidate status.

Čović said this at a press conference held after the session of the party presidency, at which the current political situation in BiH was discussed, with an emphasis on the migrant crisis and the coronavirus pandemic.

Čović reminded that in the past three months when it comes to the Election Law, several meetings were held with representatives of the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) and international institutions.

“The latest meeting was held last night with the American Ambassador to BiH Eric Nelson and the Head of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to BiH Johann Sattler, and Izetbegović and Dodik. For the first time, SNSD was included in that package. We have discussed precisely these topics which are set with a clear deadline to complete by the end of June this year all that has been set as a plan in our previous talks. The basis of only two agreements signed in Mostar on June 17 last year,” said Čović.

Regarding the changes to the Election Law, Čović emphasized that negotiations with SDA representatives would start in Sarajevo next week and that the goal was to conclude those negotiations by the end of April, and then go to the parliamentary procedure with the agreement reached.

“The proposals advocated by HDZ BiH and HNS enable the candidacy of members of others and resolve the issue of Sejdić and Finci. We believe that it is not necessary to change the BiH Constitution but to resolve these issues through election legislation. Changes to the Constitution require a two-thirds majority and I am not sure if we have such a capacity in the BiH Parliament. All proposals that enable the legitimate representation of the constituent peoples are acceptable to us, and I also pointed that out yesterday,” he said.

He pointed out that all participants in yesterday’s meeting confirmed that a change in the Election Law is necessary.

“The non-election year must be a chance to finish these things, and if it could be done in June this year, then we can credibly apply for candidate status in the European Union for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and also one of the key reforms we must implement to become a candidate for the EU, is a functioning rule of law. The basis of such a state is the constitution. If we think that we can make a better constitution, change it in the parliamentary procedure by a two-thirds majority, we are the first to support it, but I do not see the capacity for that at the moment,” Čović emphasized.

He added that all problems burdening the Federation of BiH would be discussed with the SDA.

“From our side, negotiations on the Federation will be led by Marinko Čavara and all problems that prevent the Federation from functioning normally today will be discussed, i.e. that all HDZ and SDA have agreed in the last six years and failed to implement,” said Čović.

When it comes to fulfilling the conditions for obtaining the candidate status set before Bosnia and Herzegovina by the European Union, Čović said that he believes that the job can be completed in June.

“In one phase it was about 14 conditions, and then it was reduced to nine, and last night we could find that we are missing three more conditions that should end in the parliamentary procedure so that we can say that we have brought everything to an end, with the Election Law, that is, that we will bring it to an end. Although last night there were estimates that these conditions could be completed in a month, they remained in the package that we have completed by the end of June,” said Čović.

He stressed that the assistance of the EU and the US is of great importance when it comes to the implementation of these reforms, which are a prerequisite for candidate status.

“If it weren’t for them, we certainly wouldn’t have had meetings with the SDA and we wouldn’t have talked about the Election Law, that is clear. First of all, I am very grateful to Nelson and Sattler. Bosnia and Herzegovina must get out of this dead-end, this absolute political chaos,” said Čović.