Following a two-day visit to Sarajevo and Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, members of a Congress delegation from the "Reflection Group on Mostar" called for a compromise between all political stakeholders to hold local elections in Mostar as early as possible, but at the latest in 2020. Since 10 years now no local elections have been organised in this city, due to a political impasse.
"Our discussions confirmed that there was some progress in the negotiations, in particular at the level of the political parties in Mostar, over the last months. The wish of our international and national interlocutors to find a way out of this crisis was also very clear", Stewart DICKSON (United Kingdom, ILDG), Thematic Spokesperson on observation of local and regional elections, stated at the end of two Round Tables organised on 26 June in Mostar with representatives of the main political parties and the coalition of NGOs that launched the "Elect Mostar" initiative.
"We call on all stakeholders to engage in dialogue and to accept a compromise that will restore local democracy in Mostar," said Anders KNAPE, President of the Chamber of Local Authorities of the Congress, underlining that the Congress has adopted several reports and recommendations calling for an appropriate and sustainable outcome.
The Congress delegation encouraged the participants to continue working towards a solution at the local level which should find the support also of national political actors. "Such an approach, from the level closest to the citizens to the national authorities, could serve as a model for the rest of the country," Stewart DICKSON stressed.
NGO representatives welcomed the involvement of international institutions whose support was indispensable to achieve further progress. They also stressed the role of young people and the need to strengthen education for democracy and active citizenship.
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities is closely following the situation of local and regional democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Over the coming months, it will carry out a mission to observe the regional elections to be held on 7 October 2018 and a monitoring mission to assess the implementation of the European Charter of Local Self-Government (November 2018).
Members of the delegation:
- Mr Anders KNAPE (Congress, EPP/CCE, Sweden), President of the Chamber of Local Authorities of the Congress
- Mr Stewart DICKSON (Congress, ILDG, United Kingdom), Thematic Spokesperson on observation of local and regional elections, Rapporteur of the 2016 Election Observation Mission to BiH
- Mrs Barbara TOCE (Congress, SOC, Italy), Vice-President of the Congress
- Dr. Franz SCHAUSBERGER (EU), Member of the Commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs (CIVEX), Chair of the CoR's Working Group on Western Balkans
- Expert - Prof. Dr. jur. Jens WOELK; Associate Professor of Comparative Constitutional Law, member of the Congress Group of Independent Experts on the European Charter of Local Self‑Government
- Web page on the "Reflection Group on Mostar"
- Web page on the observation of local and regional elections
Congress of Local and Regional Authorities
Head of Division, Local and Regional Election Observation
Tel: +33 (0)6 59 78 64 55