Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina Secure A Spot On The Country’s Power Bench

 

 

dr Dragan Covic - Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ BiH Elected Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Photo: Zeljko Milicevic

dr Dragan Covic – Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ BiH
Elected Member of the Presidency of
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Photo: Zeljko Milicevic

An eyeball overview of media outputs, particularly British, since Sunday 12 October 2014 – when general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) closed – tells us that candidates from “nationalist rival ethnic groups” (Bosniak [Muslim], Croat and Serb) achieved victory! It’s difficult to say whether the negative spin or connotation in these mainstream media reports, by way of using the “dirty” word “nationalist”, comes out of a concerning lack of knowledge about the mechanism (tripartite presidency where the chair rotates every eight or so months) put in place in 1995 by the Dayton Agreement for B&H presidency or whether it is a reflection of politically malicious and inappropriate disquiet of many with the fact that, finally, after 8 years Bosnian Croats have secured a proper voice of representation in the tripartite presidency.

There is no doubt about it, Croats have long been discriminated against not only at the level of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency, but also in the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina (to which they belong in co-existence with Bosniaks, while Serbs alone were given their own ethnic entity in form of Serbian Republic), where parties with predominant Croat electoral support have not entered government and where political decisions are made that have a major impact on Croats as a people.

Over the last eight years the following condition in BiH Presidency endured: Croats did not have their own representative in the Presidency (apart from predominantly Bosniak vote giving a place, twice, to Zeljko Komsic (who fought in the 1990’s war in the Bosniak run ArmyB&H), Serbs had one representative, while Bosniaks had two. This was so despite the fact that the B&H Constitution refers to Croats, Serbs, and Bosniaks as equal constituent peoples, and stipulates that the B&H Presidency is composed of a Croat, Serbian, and Bosniak member – three members representing the three constituent peoples. So really, Zeljko Komsic was not a Croat representing the Bosnian Croats on the presidency but he was there as a “Croat for the Bosniaks”, so to speak.

 

So, we come to the importance of the Sunday 12 October 2014 elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina for Croats: the results have and will markedly change the relationship of power between political parties in the country, although the challenges for that deeply divided country remain the same. The latter being a matter that has no solution on the horizon, there is an uplifting reason to celebrate: the biggest win in these elections is that the Bosnian Croats now – finally – have a legitimately elected Croat representative as member of B&H Presidency, Dragan Covic, the leader of Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) of B&H. As to the other ethnic make-up of the Presidency Bakir Izetbegovic, Party of Democratic Action/SDA, remains as Bosniak/Muslim member and as to the Serb member it is most likely that the close numbers between the two candidates will favour Mladen Ivanic from the Alliance for Change rather than Serbian Republic’s Milorad Dodig’s favourite, Zeljka Cvijanovic from the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats/SNSD.
The great thing to celebrate for Croats in B&H is that the new government in Bosnia and Herzegovina, at any level, will not be able to be formed without the Croat representation!

Croat, dr. Dragan Covic, is a new player on the podium of power in Bosnia and Herzegovina and – halleluiah – he minces no words when he carries the interests of Bosnian Croats under his wings.

Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina will have an electorate in which they will elect their representatives just as the other two ethnic groups have,” Covic said at his press conference on Monday 13 October. “That is the minimum needed by this country. No one has the right any more to speculate with the interests of the Croatian people… I am particularly gladdened by the fact that we have been so convincing that we have won over 80% of votes in some counties and the result that we were victorious in all parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina where the Croatian population is not a minority.

 

Back to the politically malicious and inappropriate disquiet I mentioned at the beginning of this article it comes to mind that Dragan Covic’s sweeping victory comes with a certain sense of sweet  vindication. That is, Covic was elected a member of the B&H Presidency in general elections of 2002. But was removed from that office in March 2005 by the ludicrous Lord Paddy Ashdown, who served then as the High Representative for B&H, amidst court convictions for abuse of power, which convictions were subsequently overturned by court of appeal and Covic was in relation to other attempts to pin corruption against him absolved of any guilt, finally, in 2012. Ashdown had in 2005 rated Covic as a threat to the reputation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ashdown did always take the pompous high-road and argued that something must be done to prevent Bosnia self-destructing, or rather being destroyed by its leaders. Well, he didn’t do much by way of progress, his “reign” over Bosnia and Herzegovina saw to it that ethnic divisions sharpen, especially that Croats get trampled on by Bosniaks while the Serbian Republic entity founded on genocide and ethnic cleansing flourishes, and corruption and unemployment become entrenched.

And so perhaps it will be in Bosnia and Herzegovina the way others, not Ashdown, think is best: for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina to take responsibility for their own future.

The unwieldy power-sharing arrangement for the Presidency that is a part of a political system created by the US-brokered Dayton peace accord in 1995 is a system that has not worked for over a decade. Last Sunday’s voting was held amid mounting social discontent over endemic corruption, ethnic disputes and dire economic woes. Unemployment is over 44% and poverty, despondency – at around almost every corner one turns. All this is the legacy of those like Paddy Ashdown – the know-it-all with no visible substance or connection to reality. The feasibility of continuing with Dayton Agreement should have been number one item on his agenda when he was High Representative. Surely after ten years it was crystal clear that Dayton Agreement was no longer in agreement with B&H reality but working against any prosperity it originally thought it could bring about.

The re-elected Bosniak leader Bakir Izetbegovic talks of a potential new coalition to break the deadlock over reforms, move towards EU and NATO integration and fight corruption and crime. Oh dear, what has he been doing during the past mandate in that position!?
While the Serbs will continue pushing for independence from B&H it is of a particularly comforting note that the elected Croat Dragan Covic is not impartial to the possibility of a separate Croat entity within Bosnia. Certainly, if one is to judge the future by the behaviour of Bekir Izetbegovic just after his electoral victory was announced yesterday, there will be no changes for the better; the Bosniaks will continue usurping power and claiming superiority over Croats. And that just will not do for much longer. Freedom and self-reliance is the only formula that will save the Croats in that swamp of despondency and tragedy. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Comments

  1. alija derzelez says:

    Covic,…DELETED …. and went to a church for the first time when he was 45 years old.

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    • Sorry Alija, didn’t expect better from you, judging from past comments. Furthermore the deleted part refers to matters of allegations of abuse of power etc but he was freed from any guilt so it just is not fair to write as you do as if he were guilty.

      Like

    • Wilkinson says:

      What does it matter when and if a person in government etc started going to church….what does it matter if someone was charged with offenses if they were cleared of any wrong doing – nothing to my view. It only matters to people who like to use such things or rather spread rubbish in order to spread hatred because the truth does not agree with their attempts to blacken.

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      • So true, Wilkinson. There are those who thrive on not accepting the truth, so if someone they do not like for instance gets charged for a criminal act but is proven innocent of the charges by the court that some will keep on regurgitating the charges as though they represent guilt. I do not have much time for such despicable individuals for they have strayed from the true humanity which says a person is innocent until proven guilty.

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      • alija derzelez says:

        Well it matters because in good old days commies used not to go and Covic is one of them,It would also help you make your mind up,you either like them or not otherwise you would be flip-flapping way to much,either way it would be good for your health.

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  2. Michael Silovic says:

    We should have had a separate entity a long time ago in Bosnia but because of weak leadership this has not come about. As you are aware I still believe we need to have all of our original borders returned to us. Having said that Ina I think what we really need to do is bring all of the Croats in Bosnia into Croatia proper and seal the border. When this is done then we should be certain that Bosniaks are left to take care of themselves with no assistance from Croatia. The Dayton accords were never meant to work for the long term but only to find a solution to the issue at the time. My prediction is that if we have the right representation that will defend Croats in BIH and make clear that we will relocate and seal our borders if not given our own entity that we will prevail in having our own.Nothing good will come from not having our own entity.We are all Nationalists in our hearts and want the best for our people regardless of who we are. This notion that being a nationalist is somehow ( Dirty ) is nothing more then political propaganda. No one should be ashamed of being a nationalist and they should proudly wear that badge of Honor. A great deal of the struggles back home is because people still live with a lot of communist mentality rather then face the realities and the other half is power struggles. I personally believe in segregation of peoples and ethnicity. When you have segregation you are strengthening your countries history, preserving cultures and a way of life. There is no country in the world that has a mix of people that does not have problems as we see as an example the rifts between people, religion and ethnicity in America. I believe that everyone should live with their own people if we are to have world peace. I believe a lot of countries would be better served if all of their peoples returned to their homelands to defend their own rights and freedoms.Segregation and separation is the only way to world peace….. ~ Za dom Spremni! ~

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    • Yes, Michael, Bosnia and Herzegovina which got the Dayton Agreement that would be a kind of a replica of Tito’s Yugoslav “Brotherhood & Unity” certainly was a model that should have only been a “bandaid” to allow time for some healing from war tragedies etc…when you have a situation like in Bosnia I too believe there is no way forward for Croats but to assert their own entity there – that way, things remain the same with Serbian Republic, at least the Bosniaks will stop having ground for their efforts to supremacy against Croats at every level of government…

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  3. Mason More says:

    Power to Covic! He will have the courage to empower the Croatian people to get themselves out of being marginalized by Bosniaks in their own home.

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  4. …ALL of Bosnia, Hercegovina, Banat, Boka, Croatia is HISTORICAL Croatia and NO separate entities!

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    • Yes that is so, Tempus Fugit but much water has run under the bridge since that particular historical fact of unified territory there under the Croatian flag. How much of history can be resurrected is a question nobody can answer but many can hope for it

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  5. That awful, awful man Paddy Ashdown ran Covic off his position in 2005 supported by international community particularly the British who have always been a nasty piece of work to label HDZ nationalistic – Covic at the time protested and resisted being stood down always saying he was innocent of allegations. He was backed by his party and accused the international community of trying to marginalize Bosnian Croats in their own country. And indeed that same international community did work on marginalization of Croats there. I hope Covic will get the opportunity to settle scores so that Croats have a chance to finally live peacefully without repression in their homes.

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    • Indeed, Stableman, the British in this case particularly Ashdown have much to answer for but since their “might”is bigger than the one Bosnian Croats can muster – the Lord shall work through, give it time

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  6. Ante Saric says:

    I remain unconvinced by the need for a separate Croat entity in Bosnia. I think it will create more problems than it will solve.
    The irony of the Serb victory in Bosnia is that Croatia, from a geo-strategic point of view, has never been so strong in its history.
    That is why Franjo Tudman signed on the dotted line. The Muslim-Croat Federation is the ultimate buffer zone for Croatia proper. If we start messing with the Dayton Accords we risk our own security and stability.

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    • Could have a point, Ante Saric, but then again it is up to the Croats of BiH to decide as it all is still within sovereign borders of BiH and things within it are not looking well at all

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    • Michael Silovic says:

      (quote) If we start messing with the Dayton Accords we risk our own security and stability.
      I find that highly unikely in fact I think it would be more beneficial if we were a separate entity. It would strengthen our hand at security for our people in BIH. The Dayton Accords were never meant to be permanent but a temporary solution until something solid was able to come about. because of weak leadership nothing has come about and that is even more dangerous when you do not have fair and equal representation for the people. Outside of Russia there is no one that will be able to challenge Croatia ever again in any war.Not only does Croatia have an intelligent system and professionally trained units of brother in arms we also have many militias forming ready to defend our people. The biggest threat to Croatia is people from outside our country who are not Croats via immigration policies and our own goverment with their lack of nationalist views of our country and right to preserve. ~ Za Dom Spremni ! ~

      Like

  7. Initiator ;-) says:

    Dear Ina,
    I always feel your presence on my blog when you like…!
    You are my punctual follower…and really really Thankful to you for giving time on my blog either pressing like..!
    Stay happy and live long with your great life objects..!
    Tahir

    Like

  8. Ante Saric says:

    Serbia, in its current shape, cannot threaten Croatia. However, a “Greater Serbia” would be an existential threat. Is this what Bosnian Croats want? All in the name of some mythical “Greater Croatia” state. It is utter insanity.
    There are no simple solutions to the Bosnian question. It is all about achieving the least worst which at the moment is getting the Muslim-Croat Federation to work.
    In any event, us Croatians have no one else to blame but ourselves for the predicament of our compatriots in Bosnia. How many Croatians emigrated from Bosnia to all parts of the world?
    If they had stayed then the Croat population would have been 1 to 2 million strong then they could have declared independence and joined Croatia proper. Now it is all too late.

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    • You are right, Ante Saric, one would not want “greater Serbia” to grow feet because it’s foundations are on the claim that wherever a Serb lives that is Serbia. “Greater Croatia” is a myth indeed, promoted by those who want to justify “Greater Serbia” expansionism – Croats have never attacked other people’s territory or cleansed it for themselves etc…it is at the end of the day difficult to endure life there where rights are being taken away. Perhaps now that Croats have a legitimate spot on the Presidency in BiH things might improve to the vision of a relatively best outcome you speak of

      Like

    • therealamericro says:

      Ante:

      Croats were doing fine while the Dayton Accord was respected.

      Post 2000, the OHR and international community, egged on by the UK and US embassies, began systematically trampling Croats’ Constitutionally guaranteed rights by simply ignoring Dayton, and arbitrarily removing popularly elected politicians because they did not like them.

      Croats economic freedom was attacked with the armed SFOR/Bosniak special police attack against Hercegovacka Banka in Mostar – which was the only solvent, profit-generating, privately owned bank in not just all of B&H, but all of fmr. Yugoslavia that was not collapsed and bought for pennies on the dollar by foreign companies – which was run into the ground by the OHR appointed wine addicted drunk Bank Lord if you will,Toby Robinson, in the never-ending sham court case that proved no wrong doing or illegalities, that has led to Croats having to surrender to the since and still foreign run Hercegovacka Banka almost a third of what they hold in cash and or other assets to get them out of the bank.

      Post 2000, Bosniaks felt that the Federation was theirs and acted like it was as they had the traitor, war profiteer, false witness and Yugoslav nationalist socialist maniac Stipe Mesic in power in ZG egging them on to crush Croats in the Federation politically and economically.

      A Croatian entity is all about economic freedom and local self government and self rule – it has nothing to do with a “greater Croatia.”

      The post 2000 Bosniak / international community jihad against Croats Constitutional rights, and basic economic freedoms, had to come to an end. If Bosniaks invested as much time and political capital in creating jobs in Bosniak majority areas as they did in political and economic disenfranchisement of Croats, both Croats and Bosniaks would have been better off.

      The fact is that there are three Constituent Nations in B&H as there is in Switzerland, and B&H needs to follow the Swiss model with either a) Confederalization into Constituent Nation majority cantons with high levels of self-rule and local government b) Three entities as the Republika Srpska / Bosnjacka Federacija model has proven to be a failure, and with the creation of a Croat entity, reciprocal rights to all minority Constituent Nations in each respective unit – i.e. no more Emil Vlajkis and Zeljko Komsic’s elected by another Constituent Nation to “represent” the minorities – is the only solution.

      Three Constituent Nations, three entities is the best solution. Croats from abroad, especially HRHB Croats, aren’t returning because of the inherent political discrimination against Croats in the Federation (not to mention RS), and knowing that their money is not safe as long as the current model of a Serbian and Bosniak ethnopolitical fiefdoms exists.

      Like

  9. 200000 Bosnian croats was kicked out of Bosnia and Herzegovina by the Serbs during the 1990s did they ever come back ? by the way I am very happy for the election we got our own Croatian voice in an indepedent proud Bosnia and Herzegovina! the problems between Croats and Bosniaks will be solved I am 100 % sure because they have a common enemy wacthing them. and Because nothing will work if they keep fighting about things which will not make the federation work.

    Like

  10. Hi Ina, I just started following you and must say I like your approach to the fluid times we Croats live in. I applaud your wrting and relevant theme selection (from what I have been able to read thus far).

    I agree that we Croats in BH need this position and to speak for ourselves. It was a grave error in political judgement to cede our postion to a federation with the Muslims but given the reality on the ground in the region not much of a real alternative existed without threatening the security of the Republic of Croatia iteslf.

    I am not convinced that Covic is the man for the job though. He leaves me doubting on many levels.

    @AnteSaric…I aree with you. We have no one to blame but ourselves. One solution is to wipe out all the existing Croatian political parties and have one unified block. I realize that proposition is difficult to handle for some. BUT, all the existing parties have such baggage and mistrust amongs the Croatian corpus that a new Croatian singular entitiy may resolve the divisions and FORCE cooperation amongst the leaders.

    As for the “third entity” paradigm, Ante, it is the only means of survival for Croats in BH. We must unhitch from the Muslim train and circle the wagons. The elimation of the Serb entity is paramount but not possible because of the persecution sympathy card they use successfully in Europe et al. Therefore, our option is to safe Croats from assimillation. The land is lost but the people are not (not yet anyways). Hence, my plan is “resettlement” by choice this time.

    We have justifyable claim to large swaths of territory in BH and can consolidate those with resettling the existing Croat population from the areas where we are in a minority or worse, the brink of extintion. The time will come when war will start again but this time we will be able to secure our people.

    Sorry Ina for the very lenghty introductio to your blog. I promise to more succinct comments in the future. Toplih pozdrav iz Kanade. Zivili.

    Like

    • Thank you Maks – from Canada! Your comment was as long as it needed to be to say what you needed to say so no problems at all with length of comment. I hear what you say regarding Covic may not being the man to achieve what needs to be achieved etc but he is there within the Presidency and that is a marked shift from how it has been the last eight years. That very fact may embolden other Croats to get cracking with issues that need sorting and settling. Trust in politicians is a major problem – corruption, nepotism, politically coloured preferential treatment etc are serious obstructions for creativity as to the future but they can also give rise to new positive energies. I hope the latter for Croats of BiH

      Like

  11. I am a Croatian living in Slovenia and looking at this problem from outside is a bit interesting. First of all Croatians in BiH need to push a lot more for their rights. Simply electing your own member of the presidency will not be enough for a third entity or a third election entity. There needs to be more involvement from Croatia for Croats in BiH because the current government which is predominantly SDP aren’t doing nothing.

    It is preposterous that bosniaks[muslims] can elect the Croatian member of the Presidency. But only after the election in 2016 in Croatia some changes can be expected unless they start pushing more in BiH. However BiH from its current position will fall apart mainly due to economic reasons and high unemployment rate.

    Like

  12. How were they elected?

    The Northern Ireland Assembly ensures the representation of both communities, which have been at war for centuries, proportionally by the d’Hondt method, which is also used for members of the European Parliament. The rival communities at first elected the more moderate representatives, the Ulster Unionists and the Social Democratic and Labour Party, but then turned to their more extreme rivals, Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionists, who still had to cooperate in government.

    Like

    • A complicated system, Clare, but essentially the candidate who has the most votes gets in – in Serbian Republic entity they vote for Serb rep. on the presidency, in the Federation entity they vote for Bosniak and Croat rep on the presidency, so it’s the latter that has had problems i.e. not always Croiats voted for the Croat but say Bosniaks voted for the Croat rep of their choice because there were/are more Bosniaks in an area than Croats…manipulation can happen…this time around one can say that Croats voted for the Croat rep in large numbers hence getting their preferred rep in

      Like

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