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Željko Komšić: Bosnia and Herzegovina must change its political system if it wants to be part of modern democratic society

Željko Komšić, Bosnia and Herzegovina
©Council of Europe

Addressing PACE today, Željko Komšić, Chairperson of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, presented the socio-political situation in his country, after recalling the significant historical events since the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992, including the period of war that “led to unprecedented horrors”, and the political developments after the Dayton Agreement.

Referring to the current functioning of institutions, Mr Komšić regretted that “the application of the concept of 'constituent peoples' and the use of ethnic quotas in everyday political decision-making in the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, prevent the country from stabilising and progressing,” leading to deadlocked situations.

He denounced the “systemic discrimination" based on ethnicity and place of residence as a condition sine qua non for any form of political activity, “which has been established in five judgments of the European Court of Human Rights”. “I strongly believe that it is necessary to achieve equality for every citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to create a society of equal opportunities. This would eliminate all forms of discrimination associated with the phenomenon of 'constituent peoples',” Mr Komšić said.

“It is necessary to change our political system, in accordance with the 2005 Venice Commission Opinion, which has specified all the changes that Bosnia and Herzegovina needs to make if it wants to be part of modern democratic society,” he added.

“Changes to the Constitution and the Electoral Law must not be made without respecting the fundamental principles of liberal democracy, human rights and the rule of law, because anything else will lead my country to additional instability, and thus to the instability of the entire Western Balkans region,” President Komšić concluded.