Croatian Prime Minister and leader of the ruling centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), Andrej Plenkovic, called on the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina to turn out in large numbers for the general election on Sunday, saying he hoped that Dragan Covic, leader of the HDZ’s sister party in Bosnia HDZ BiH, would win in the election.
"It is very important to us that the Croats, as the smallest, yet equal and constituent group, exercise their voting rights and participate in the vote in the largest possible numbers. I am certain that in that way they will best ensure the legitimacy of all elected representatives. That's why we expect success and a large voter turnout," Plenkovic told the press after a meeting of the delegations of the HDZ and the HDZ BiH in the southern Bosnian city of Mostar on Thursday evening.
Voters will cast their ballots for three Presidency members, 42 members of Bosnia’s House of Representatives from the country's two entities - the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) and the Republika Srpska (RS), the president and two vice-presidents of the RS, as well as MPs of all ten cantonal assemblies in the FBiH.
Registered to run in the election are 128 political entities, 53 parties, 36 coalitions, and 34 independent candidates.
Plenkovic said he had come to Mostar to offer political support to Covic and wish him success.
Asked to comment on a message issued by the head of the Islamic community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Husein Kavazovic, that it was not good for one ethnic group to elect representatives for another, Plenkovic said that this was a "wise and correct" message.
Bosnia’s three-member presidency consists of a Serb chosen from the Serb-dominated entity called the Republika Srpska (RS) entity, the other two from the Bosniak-Croat entity – the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH). However, because Bosniaks outnumber Croats four to one, they can elect both the Bosniak and the Croat member in the entity that the two peoples share, which defies the Constitution which guarantees that each of the three groups can elect their own representatives.
"I believe that all voters in this election will vote in accordance with the existing electoral system and that the principle of the Dayton/Paris constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the principle of constitutionality will be reflected in the voting process itself. It's good for the institutional functioning and cohesion of Bosnia and Herzegovina and it's good for its future," Plenkovic said.
Covic, who is running for the seat of the Croat member of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency, said his party had conducted a positive campaign and that he expected victory on Sunday.
His challengers are Dijana Zelenika from the HDZ 1990 party, pro-Bosnian politician Zeljko Komsic from the Democratic Front, Borisa Falatar from Nasa Stranka (Our Party) and Jerko Ivankovic Lijanovic from the People’s Party for Work and Betterment.