Mostar to Miss Bosnian Local Elections Again

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 15, 2014
Posted in category Balkans, Bosnia Hertegovina
Comments Off on Mostar to Miss Bosnian Local Elections Again

After Bosnia’s parliament failed to agree on changes to the electoral law for Mostar, it appears that the city will again miss out on local elections due in October.

Lawmakers of Bosnia’s House of Representatives, one of two chambers of parliament, failed to adopt changes to the electoral law on holding elections in Mostar on Wednesday.

As a result, local elections expected in October will again have skip the ethnically divided city in southwest Bosnia.

Following two Constitutional Court decisions ordering the election system in Mostar to change, the city missed local elections in 2012 and will not have them this year either.

The court rulings said the electoral system needed be changed to give all voters the same rights.

The rulings followed complaints by Croats on the City Council that the electoral system gave Bosniaks the same number of councillors even though Croats are the majority group in the city.

Despite the rulings, the electoral system in Mostar has remained unchanged. Mostar’s City Council is currently a unitary authority elected from six voting units. Each unit elects the same number of councillors regardless of the number of voters in the unit.

Mostar is a divided city where power is mostly split between the [Bosniak] Party of Democratic Action, SDA, and the Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ.

Although no exact data on the population or ethnic structure of Mostar have been produced since the 1991 census, estimates indicate that Croats make up a majority of the residents.

The House of Peoples, parliament’s other chamber, recently adopted changes to the Electoral Law that would have resolved the Mostar election issue, but the House of Representatives failed to support them on Wednesday.

The proposed changes, adopted on the initiative of the Croat caucus, treat Mostar as one electoral unit and not as six as is the case now.

The HDZ has long argued that when former High Representative Paddy Ashdown abolished the municipalities in Mostar in 2004, his only aim was to prevent Croats from having more power than Bosniaks, thus discriminating against them.

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