The bosses of the main Croat party in Bosnia and Herzegovina may like talking about a third entity but in reality such an outcome would – as they well know – end their power and their party.
On March 22, Ivan Jozic, prime minister of the Croat-majority Canton 10 in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Federation entity, issued a poorly worded ban on the entrance of all Bosnian-Herzegovinian citizens other than the army, police and healthcare workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
The fact that there were no cases of coronavirus in this sparsely populated canton, and that the local hospital has only one ventilator, were used as justification for this action.
However, the ban was rescinded less than 24 hours later, after many Bosniak politicians called it an attack on the country’s constitutional order, threatened lawsuits – and called it an attempt by the Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, the largest Croat party in the country, to use the pandemic to try form a separate Croat entity in the country, or even secede completely.
However, such accusations miss a key truth about the Croat political elites in Bosnia and Herzegovina. For them, secession is not a goal but rather a last-resort exit strategy in a worst-case scenario, in which all revenue streams have been exhausted and their political positions threatened.