Bosniaks request new municipalities in Mostar
Bosniak councilors in the Mostar City Council, the city mufti and 40 NGOs have launched a petition requesting that the city be divided into six municipalities.Source: Tanjug
The Bosniaks want Mostar, which is dominated by its Croat and Bosniak (Muslim) communities, to be divided into several local-self government units. According to them, this is the only way to guarantee Bosniaks’ equality in the city.
They demand that Mostar be organized in accordance with the Annex of the Agreement on the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina that was signed in Dayton on November 10, 1995, which is a part of the Mostar Transitional Statute which was drafted by EU Administrator for Mostar Hans Koschnick.
Head of the Bosniak councilor group in the City Council Salem Marić has said that the Bosniak parties in Mostar will continue their joint action and that heads of all town boards of all Bosniak political parties will hold a meeting in Mostar next week.
“We agreed to call all leaders of all Bosniak and pro-Bosniak parties in Bosnia-Herzegovina to meet in Mostar in order to send a clear message about Bosniaks’ unity, just like it was done in Srebrenica,” Marić said and stressed that “talks about Mostar need to be held in Mostar”.
Mostar Mufti Seid Smajkić said that Bosniaks were discriminated in the city.
“Bosniaks have been put in an unequal position with the abolition of Bosniak municipalities and we want to protect the rights of Bosniaks in Mostar, as a center of Herzegovina, through municipalities. We want everybody to see Mostar as their center, Croats, Bosniaks, Serbs and others,” he explained.
According to Bosnian media, Smajkić has called on Croat political parties to stop acting as if they own Mostar and added that Bosniaks are offended by such behavior.
Bosniak veterans’ associations of Mostar representative Suad Muharemović claims that he will not allow “Mostar to be a Croatian capital”.
The Office of the High Representative (OHR) is involved in the solving of the issues in Mostar and it has started negotiations in order to find a solution for changes of the City Statute and the Bosnia-Herzegovina Election Law which were ordered by the Constitutional Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina last year.
The implementation of the new Election Law in Mostar has not started yet so local elections were not held in the city.
Croat and Bosniak parties have different stances on the issue. The Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia-Herzegovina (HDZ) wants Mostar to be a single electoral unit while the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) advocates that the city be divided into six municipalities.