04/07/2023 OHR

Statement by HR Christian Schmidt regarding the FBiH Government formation deadlock

The constitutional deadline for the formation of the Federation Government has passed.  This means that the election results cannot be fully implemented, even though there are majorities in both chambers of the Federation Parliament to vote on a Government. After having had a lot of talks, I will remind all political stakeholders of their responsibility to enable the institutions of Government to do their jobs.

Recent developments make this more urgent and necessary considering continued work by the current government, in a technical mandate since 2018, would not correspond to usual democratic practice and to respect the voters’ will.

The Federation is caught in a political stalemate between political blocs, not a fundamental disagreement over the shape of the Federation or the role of constituent peoples and Others within it. This is a fight for political power between parties, not a struggle for survival between peoples. Constituent peoples and Others have their place guaranteed in the Constitution of the Federation and that has to be observed. But the fight for political power between political parties can and must be solved.

Maximalist demands, ethno-nationalist scare tactics, and the lack of acceptance of political reality will not help move the Federation forward. Most people I have met are ready to move forward and get along with one another if only some politicians would stop telling them they cannot or they should not.

The current deadlock cannot continue. The will of the voters, as expressed in the October election, must be translated into political reality. Otherwise, democracy has no meaning here.

The Federation must function, because we need a strong Federation for a functional State. This country’s citizens deserve progress towards a better future here, in their own country Too much is at stake at this critical moment for this situation to continue. This country has now a window of opportunity with the candidacy status for the EU to go ahead for a better future for all people.

Responsible politicians should put aside their partisan and individual interests and recognize the higher interests of the Federation, the State and its citizens. They must work constructively, whether in government or in opposition. Opposition is an indispensable part of democracy.

I expect politicians to come to a resolution of this blockade and proceed with forming a government backed by Parliamentary majorities as soon as possible. This is their obligation to the voters.

If they abdicate this responsibility, I am committed to ensuring that the will of the voters is respected and that citizens benefit from a government that works on their behalf, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or even their political party.

To whom it may concern: be clear – this is the final call to reason!

I expect them to start working soon and with success. There will be no further final calls.