The OSCE Mission to Bosnia Herzegovina (BiH) regrets the recent statements by Presidency member Milorad Dodik and the President of the HDZ BiH , Dr. Dragan Čović, for their disregard of democratic standards concerning the holding of elections.
By conditioning the approval of resources necessary for holding the elections based on political disputes over the composition of the Central Election Commission (CEC), the authorities risk undermining the constitutional order and the functioning of democracy. Obstructing elections in this manner would violate the political rights of all BiH citizens. This would be contrary to BiH’s commitments as an OSCE participating State to organize and hold elections in line with international obligations and standards, including OSCE commitments.
We underline that all relevant bodies, including the Council of Ministers, the BiH Presidency and the BiH Parliamentary Assembly bear the legal obligation to ensure adequate financing of the elections. In full accordance with the BiH Election Law, the CEC announced local elections on 7 May, which means that financing for the elections needs to be secured by 22 May.
Any challenges concerning the process of the appointment of CEC members should be made before a competent court, following legally prescribed procedures, and not through political blockades.
The OSCE Mission to BiH calls on all parties to avoid politicizing the issue of the CEC. The institution is to be composed of highly qualified and impartial persons who are legally obligated to oversee the implementation of the BiH Election Law in a fully independent and impartial manner.
We stress that all OSCE participating States, including BiH, have committed to follow up promptly on electoral recommendations by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. This is how the electoral process in BiH would improve and where authorities and institutions should focus their attention and actions.