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Bosnia: High Representative confirms electoral reform

Ahead of the 2 October vote

29 July, 08:58
(ANSA) - SARAJEVO, JUL 29 - The High Representative of the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Christian Schmidt, has confirmed his decision to use his special powers and impose changes to the local electoral law ahead of the upcoming 2 October vote.

"To vote in elections is a right of every citizen and voter. So I am announcing a transparency package that guarantees a free and fair campaign. But, unfortunately, no one has succeeded before," said Schmidt last evening, calling on politicians in Bosnia and Herzegovina to end vetoes.

"Public debate is critically important. Now it's up to the politicians to turn the debate into an agreement. I advise using this opportunity because they may not get another one," the German diplomat added.

"I had talks with them. I expect results and that they will act immediately, complying with their duties and responsibility.'' Earlier yesterday, Schmidt had invited the representatives of the most important political parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina to his office in Sarajevo (OHR) to inform them of his plans.

According to the chairman of the Narod I Pravda, an opposition party, Schmidt "shouted and banged the table" and "showed emotions" and eventually asked the party's leaders to try to agree on sweeping changes to the electoral law as soon as possible.

According to their estimates, this could happen in September, but no exact deadline has yet been set.

Bakir Izetbegović and Dragan Čović, leaders of the two largest parties in the Federation of BiH, SDA (Bosniak majority), and the HDZ BiH, representing the Croatian component, did not attend the meeting with Christian Schmidt.

Moreover, Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik attacked Schmidt, calling him a "speculator and manipulator" serving Muslim interests. The international representative oversees compliance with the Dayton Accords that ended the war in 1995. (ANSA).

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