Former Yugoslavian and Croatian President Stjepan Mesić this week visited Bosnia and Herzegovina where he spoke about current problems and declared intention to present a proposal for new composition of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Current composition of two entities, one of them divided into ten cantons, and weak federal government is a result of peace negotiations in Dayton, Ohio in 1995 between representatives of three main ethnic groups, US, Croatia and Serbia. Complex governmental system and ethnic model of Parliament seats distribution caused many problems to Bosnia and Herzegovina over the last twenty years, stalled all reforms and made almost impossible to reach agreement on any question important for people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Now Mr. Mesić wants to create new composition of Bosnia and Herzegovina in effort to change overall governing system and to move country forward towards European Union and NATO pact membership.
In general his idea is to create several new regions in Bosnia and Herzegovina which would avoid being separated on national or ethnic lines and to grant equal right to each and every citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is not a first time that political representatives of countries in region or from the United States or EU came with similar idea, often this proposal is called Dayton 2.
“I think it is possible to create a new composition for Bosnia and Herzegovina so that each of these units, regions to be called, but not based on ethnic or national colouring. No, I do not want to have national areas. I would like to suggest a creation of multiethnic units. Some one with a majority the population of a one nation, the other with the majority of other, but that every citizen in the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina feels equal in them. So, I want everyone to feel that belonging to one region does not mean that others have lesser rights”, said Mr. Mesić in statement to Bosnian media portal Klix.ba.
On the other side former Speaker of Bosnian National Parliament, Miro Lazović, said on Bosnian FACE TV that 2014 will present unique opportunity for all people in Bosnia and Hercegovina and foreign partners, in particular US to work on substantial changes of Bosnia’s constitutional and governmental framework. Main reason, Lazović said, is hidden in the fact that Bosnian Constitution as it is at moment is dysfunctional and in many case severely discriminatory to all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“During the peace negotiations in Dayton in 1995 late Richard Holbrooke told us that Dayton’s lifetime is about 15 years and that then it will need to be re-negotiatied and transformed into something better for people of Bosnia. Fifteen year was long ago and now we need to see how we can make it to work”, said Lazović.
Many expect that the United States will take a lead in this process but with more imminent and much more important events across the world such as Ukraine, Syria, Iran, North Korea and domestic problems to deal with it Barack Obama will probable leave Bosnia and Herzegovina to EU partners to find a solution. As both EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina are going through elections this year, first talks could convene sometimes in December or even early next year when real work could start. Of course much will depend of votes of Bosnians on upcoming general elections and their willingness to chose new leaders ready to work instead current leaders who are champions in keep a country in status quo for more than half a decade.