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Rohrabacher Warns of ‘Political Crisis’ in Bosnia as Election Approaches

Apr 18, 2018

WASHINGTON – Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-CA, warned Wednesday that the Balkan country of Bosnia has not adequately prepared for its fall general election and faces a ‘political crisis’ that could spread throughout the region.

“Bosnia is approaching a general election this October without an election law in place,” said the congressman as he chaired a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats. “This has created the potential for a political crisis. The current set of ethno-centric political parties and entrenched elites have regrettably been unable or unwilling to find a solution for the good of the country and its people.”

Rohrabacher cited a “fundamental compromise” in the 1995 Dayton Agreement the Clinton administration negotiated between warring ethnic factions in Dayton, Ohio, that ended three years of war and genocide. The agreement balanced a need to accommodate ethnic interests against developing democratic institutions and preserving territorial integrity.

“The time has come,” he said, “not just for stability, but for political reform that allows Bosnia to have a fully functional government, one that meets democratic standards.”

As a result of the Dayton Agreement, the country is divided into the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is divided into 10 cantons, and Republika Srpska. A power-sharing agreement between Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats complicates an overlapping system that features a tripartite presidency.

“While this system secured the group rights of once warring parties,” said Rohrabacher, “two decades of demographic change has resulted in a situation where equal representation of individual citizens is viewed as a threat to protecting the political equality between ethnic groups.”

The congressman added, “We can’t just sit back and let the European Union do it. The United States has an ongoing responsibility to help Bosnians find a mutually agreeable and lasting solution.”