Bosnia's parliament rejects constitutional reform

Thu 27 Apr 2006

On 26th of April, Bosnia’s state parliament failed to reach consensus and to muster necessary votes to pass constitutional reform agreed upon by six parties on 18th of March 2006. The reforms are necessary to simplifiy the complex political structures in Bosnia and to strenghten the central government. The parties which agreed upon the amendments to the constitution hoped to gain two thirds support in the 42-seat parliament, but missed two votes.

Four out of five parlamentarians from the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) left the party opposing the reforms and a member of the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) voted against as well.

Opposition to the reforms comes from the parties in the Federation who oppose the principle of ethnic voting. According to this rule, each decision needs to be supported by a certain percentage of parlementarians of each ethnic group. Consequently, many decisions are blocked and pace of reforms is slowed down.

On the behalf of the U.S. government, U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia Douglas McElhaney expressed his profound disappointment. The High Representative to Bosnia, Christian Schwarz Schilling said that Bosnia has missed a chance to move closer towards Europe.