I am grateful to the CEC for hosting Ambassador Kavalec and me today to discuss timely, free, fair, and transparent elections. They are the foundation of democracy, and for the people of this country, they are also right enshrined in Article II (2) of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s constitution. It would be unconstitutional, indeed it would be anti-Dayton, for someone to deny the people of this country their right to free and fair elections.
The United States is committed to a democratic and prosperous future for the constituent peoples and citizens of this country inside the Euro-Atlantic institutions. That is why we are working with the OSCE and the CEC to strengthen BiH’s electoral process and defend it against those who seek to corrupt it for their personal or partisan gain. Voters must have confidence in the integrity of the electoral process. They must have confidence that the outcome of an election reflects the ballots as they cast them. The work the OSCE is doing with the CEC will help build that confidence.
This October, the voters of Bosnia and Herzegovina will decide who should lead the state, the entities, and the cantons for the next four years. This is their opportunity to shape BiH’s future. It is also their opportunity to hold accountable the politicians and political parties that have governed this country for the last four years. Did these politicians deliver on the promises they made four years ago? Have they been guided by their constituents’ interests, or have they been driven by their own, narrow, personal interests? Is the country better today than it was four years ago? These are the types of questions voters in every democracy ask themselves before casting their ballot. If the answers are “no”, then the voters can make a change. That is the beauty and the power of democracy.
The international community cannot answer these questions for the voters of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but we can work to help ensure that when the voters of this country provide their answer, it will be counted.