At a press conference in the town of Goražde in Bosnia-Hercegovina, former Federal Minister of Agriculture Christian Schmidt reacted to a question with an emotional outburst.

"Garbage, big garbage!" yelled the High Representative of the International Community in English in a video clip of his Wednesday performance shared on social media.

Apparently, the CSU politician was enraged by the question of whether he was prepared to implement changes to the electoral law of the federation, in which Bosniaks and Croats mainly live, using his powers of attorney, should there be no agreement between the politicians of the ethnic groups.

Nicholas Zimmerman

Editor in Politics.

  • Follow I follow

At the end of July, Schmidt had already made changes to the electoral law, but these were less far-reaching than expected.

Among other things, the High Representative has ordered that the penalties for attempts to influence others and hate speech be increased.

The suspicion that Schmidt wanted to change the electoral law in the ten cantons of the federation in a way that would benefit the Croatian minority caused outrage.

The HDZ party, which sees itself as representing the Croats in Bosnia-Hercegovina, has been demanding a new posting formula for a long time.

After the reports on Schmidt's alleged plan, citizens protested in Sarajevo, who feared ethnic separation would be cemented or Bosniaks, who make up the majority of the population in the federation, would be disadvantaged.

In his outburst of anger in Bosniak-dominated Goražde, Schmidt called on the politicians of the ethnic groups to reach a compromise.

They have been preventing an agreement for 15 years, as the High Representative lamented with great excitement.

His outbreak also met with criticism abroad.

The reaction was "absolutely inappropriate" and harms the "reputation and effectiveness of the office," said Adis Ahmetovic, rapporteur for the SPD parliamentary group for the Western Balkans, the "Spiegel".

The High Representative in Bosnia-Hercegovina has far-reaching authority.

He can – at least in theory – dismiss elected politicians, annul laws and issue decrees.