Bosnia And Herzegovina

CrisisWatch Bosnia And Herzegovina

Deteriorated Situation

Conflict Risk Alert

Tensions escalated between High Representative and Bosnian Serb leader over proposed changes to election law, with latter threatening to paralyse state-level decision-making.

Crisis erupted days after European Council 21 March approved opening of formal negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) to join bloc. High Representative Christian Schmidt, responsible for overseeing implementation of Dayton peace accords, 26 March imposed changes to state-level Election Law, designed to clamp down on fraud and abuse. In response, Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik 28 March threatened to paralyse decision-making in BiH and withdraw from armed forces and other state organs unless number of demands are met, including withdrawal of legislation within seven days and expulsion of Schmidt from country, alongside UK, German and U.S. ambassadors. Republika Srpska lawmakers 29 March subsequently adopted their own version of election law, which Dodik said would come into force on 16 April if demands not met. U.S. Embassy in capital Sarajevo same day condemned move, warning law would “usurp state-level competencies and create a parallel electoral system” and accused Dodik of launching “direct attack on the state structure of Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

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