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Bosnia and Herzegovina: message from Bishops on general elections, “unacceptable that Parliament takes decisions ignoring other nationalities”

Following the meeting of the Bishops of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Banja Luka, which ended on 14 July, the Bishops’ Conference published a message about the upcoming general elections on 7 October 2018. It is first and foremost an appeal to Catholics and all people of good will to “register to be able to exercise their right to vote” as a “moral obligation towards the society in which we live”. “In any democratic society, general elections are an important event, an occasion for a new beginning”, the Bishops of the Balkan country wrote, noting that “in a society as complex as that of Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is a need to respect the rights of every human person, including the right to return to one’s homeland, in a climate of continuous dialogue and respect for the diversity of peoples, cultures, languages and beliefs”. According to the Bishops, for this to happen, “it is necessary to put an end to the logics of majority and veto”. “Likewise – the statement reads -, one cannot understand how Parliament can take extremely important decisions for the residents of one of the nationalities at the expense of others, without taking into account the will of its representatives”. The Bishops recalled, “as they did during the war, that one’s happiness cannot be built on the unhappiness of another person or ethnic group”. Therefore, they insist on the application of judgements issued by national and international courts with regard to the regulation and organization of elections. The Bishops also believe that the elections will only be legitimate if all nationalities living in the country are rightfully represented. Finally, the message highlights that “many are the reasons for discontent and frustration in Bosnia and Herzegovina due to a difficult situation that has been lasting for too long”. In brief, the prelates urge Catholics to “vote according to their consciences for those candidates who intend to respect the values of the Catholic Church’s social doctrine”.

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