Kathleen Kavalec, Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) concluded her two-day visit to Mostar and Stolac on 24 September 2020. Over the course of the visit, she discussed preparations for local elections, to be held later in the autumn, as well as the Mission’s continuous support in promoting inter-religious dialogue in the country.
“I am happy the local inter-party dialogue regarding the organization of elections in Mostar is taking place and that citizens of Mostar will finally have an opportunity to exercise their democratic right,” said Ambassador Kavalec, highlighting the need for continuing constructive dialogue during the campaign and after the elections, including on the prevention of election fraud.
During the visit, Kavalec met with political parties representatives Edin Mušić, Chairperson of the SDA Board in Herzegovina-Neretva Canton; Salem Marić, SDA City Board President; representatives of the Mostar Election Commission; CCI and Pod lupom, as well as Marin Bago and Husein Oručević, independent candidates and NGO activists; Josip Merdžo, Secretary General of the Croat National Assembly (HNS); Slaven Raguž, President of Croat Republican Party; Arman Zalihić, President of SDP Board Mostar; Stjepan Bošković, current Mayor of Stolac (HDZ BiH); and Zoran Turković, independent candidate for Mayor of Stolac.
Discussions focused on the Mission’s local election pledge initiative, which entails several key commitments aimed at contributing to a peaceful and fair electoral process in the local communities.
Kavalec used this opportunity to meet with religious officials Petar Palić, Bishop of Mostar-Duvno/Apostolic Administrator Trebinje-Mrkan; and Salem ef. Dedović, Mostar Mufti and President of the Majlis of the Islamic Community in Stolac Orhan Tikvesa to discuss inter-religious relations at the local level. She reiterated the Mission’s continuous support of constructive dialogue and joint initiatives aimed at promoting tolerance and co-operation.
“I recognize that 2020 is a sensitive year with approaching local elections, both in Mostar, which was previously deprived of it, and Stolac where there were issues at the previous local elections. I also urge all community leaders, including religious leaders, to promote constructive dialogue and focus on pursuing politics that solve real daily problems for citizens and strengthen the communities within which they live,” said Kavalec.
Ambassador Kavalec also met with Gorčin Dizdar, Head of the Mak Dizdar Foundation and project “Stolac – Crossroads of Cultures”.