Should Officials in Bosnia with two Functions give up One?

The Central Election Commission (CEC) of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has opened the issue of dual functions in BiH and at the CEC collegium will decide on the creation of a database of all executive officials at all levels, and which it plans to invite, in case they have a legislative function as well, to give up one.

This was discussed at the last session of the CEC, but no agreement was reached among the members on how to implement it. Suad Arnautovic’s proposal to immediately reach a conclusion on the creation of such a database and to send a letter to officials to choose one function did not pass. There was the conclusion that it should be discussed at the CEC board after all the material is prepared and only then decide on a very complex issue and the intertwining of several laws.

Certainly, the database of all officials who have an executive function will be created, but CEC members have different views on whether the CEC is the institution that can call on officials to give up one of the functions or whether it should be done by someone else.

Either way, a decision should be made during next week.

“It is illegal for two branches of government to be carried out simultaneously by persons who have been elected to the legislature and the executive government. This is completely illegal and contrary to the Election Law,” said Arnautovic, adding that the CEC also participates in these irregularities, while not doing anything to resolve this issue.

When it comes to dual functions, the CEC members emphasized that it is a common appearance in BiH and that it should be reacted in a certain way. As they pointed out, there are such cases at all levels of government – from the local, cantonal, entity, to the state level. For instance, it is incompatible for someone to be a deputy mayor or mayor, and at the same time a Member of Parliament (MP), as is the case in the Federation of BiH (FBiH) where Marinko Cavara, President of FBiH, is also an MP, and where some ministers in the FBiH Government have a parliamentary mandate.

“This is a serious issue for our country. We must give our service the task of starting to get into the focus of what is causing us problems. We did not allow dual functions, but the problem is that someone who was elected to function has some technical mandates,” told Irena Hadziabdic, a member of the CEC, adding that it is not clear whether the CEC can revoke those mandates or not.

Similar to Hadziabdic, Zeljko Bakalar, the president of CEC, who asked for the issue to be decided at the CEC board, and not at the session, thinks that the CEC has no mandate to ask officials to give up one function, but that this question certainly needs to be opened, considered, and then finally a final decision could be made.

“It is an issue that has been open to the public for a while. It has become contrary to what was the goal and intention of the legislator that in a transitional period, people who win a seat in new elections, and before that were executive officials, can simultaneously keep both functions until a new government is constituted. However, in BiH we have a situation where the results are not being implemented for several years at different levels of government, ” noted Bakalar.

What could be a problem for CEC members in deciding whether or not to call on officials to give up one of the functions is the fact that each level of government in BiH has addressed the issue in a different way. Entity and state laws on civil service, laws on local self-government, Election Law, etc. are only part of the acts that address this issue in BiH, Nezavisne writes.


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