Bosnia and Herzegovina: the Constitution and Election Law must be amended without delay

While welcoming the progress made in a number of areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the adoption by PACE of its Recommendation 2025 (2013), and the adoption of an ambitious reform agenda by the authorities in July 2015, the Monitoring Committee remains concerned about the lack of progress in the field of constitutional reform and reform of the election law.

In adopting a draft resolution, based on the report by Sir Roger Gale (United Kingdom, EC) and Tiny Kox (Netherlands, UEL), the committee expressed regret that the 2014 elections had taken place under the same discriminatory framework as the ones held in 2010, in violation of the 2009 Sejdic and Finci judgment. It urged the authorities “to adopt the necessary changes in both the Constitution and the election law, before the next general election in October 2018”.

The adopted text also underlines the urgent need to implement the decision by the Constitutional Court on the composition of the Federation Houses of the People well ahead of the 2018 elections, failing which there was a serious risk that the formation of the government at both Federation and State level after the elections would be blocked.

While accepting that the institutional framework of the country was a complex one, the committee expressed its regret that the complicated decision-making processes in the State Parliament were slowing down the legislative reforms and that nationalistic and ethnic rhetoric still dominated the political discourse in the country.

The committee made a series of recommendations to the authorities to strengthen the democratic institutions, the rule of law and the protection of human rights and proposed pursuing its monitoring of the honouring of obligations and commitments by Bosnia and Herzegovina.