Former Croatian President Stjepan Mesic put forward a new constitutional model for Bosnia and Herzegovina based on multi-ethnic cantons in a bid to deal with the country’s political stagnation.
Mesic said in Mostar on Friday that it was a time for an international conference on a new constitutional make-up for the country to replace the one imposed under the 1995 Dayton peace agreement that ended the war - but his proposal was immediately rejected by the Bosnian Serb leadership.
The former Croatian leader argued that the Dayton accords had stopped the war but the political system they left in place was not functioning anymore and was impeding Bosnia and Herzegovina’s progress.
“In the current circumstances, Croatia has to react and has to come out with an initiative to change the Dayton peace accords and the constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Mesic said, adding that the EU could be a partner in the initiative.
Mesic said that one of the possible solutions could be an international conference which would be called ‘Dayton 2’, and would redraw the country into multi-national cantons with a central government, in which Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs, as well as other ethnicities, would be equals.
He said that the conference could be held under supervision of the United Nations in the presence of the countries that signed the original Dayton peace accords. Bosnia would be represented by its tripartite presidency members, while three former High Representatives would preside over the event - Wolfgang Petritsch, Christian Schwarz-Schilling and Paddy Ashdown.
People would vote in a referendum on the new constitution while at the same time the country's authorities would negotiate to join the EU, Mesic proposed.
But the president of Bosnia’s Serb-led entity Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, dismissed any idea of a ‘Dayton 2’, saying that the original 1995 accords, which guaranteed Republika Srpska’s existence, should be upheld instead.
Dodik insisted that Republika Srpska could block any potential abolition of its status: “Republika Srpska has enough ability to defend its constitutional positions,” he said.
Meanwhile wartime Bosnian parliamentary speaker Miro Lazovic argued on Sunday that the current constitutional situation was impeding the country on its road towards the EU.
Lazovic told a meeting of the Alliance of Independent Intellectuals Circle 99 in Sarajevo that the country was still far from the vision set out in the 1992 referendum on independence which spoke of “a state of equal citizens and nations of Muslims, Serbs, Croats and others who live in it”.
“Nowadays Bosnia and Herzegovina is an economically and socially destabilized country, politically disoriented and [its people are] in a perpetual relationship which does not allow a way out,” Lazovic said.
“It is torn between Dayton and Brussels,” he said.
Autor: Elvira M. Jukic