The Democratic Alliance of the Vojvodina Croats (DSHV) on Saturday refuted claims made by Serbia’s officials that it was the DSHV to blame for the fact that ethnic Croats have no representative in Serbia’s parliament.
Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said earlier on Saturday that the Croat ethnic community in Serbia was entitled to three seats in the parliament but that its representatives did not exercise that right. “The decision by the DSHV to join the slate of the Democratic Party (DS) goes directly against the interests of the Croat community. So the right address for criticism is not Serbia but the DSHV,” said Dacic.
The DSHV also finds statements made by Dacic and Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic of the Serbian Progressive Party,(SNS) who alluded that it was Croatia rather than Serbia that should be taught lessons to be inappropriate and threatening.
“Nebojsa Stefanovic ‘s statements, in which he connects the DSHV’s decision on whom it will choose for a partner to run together in an election to the matters regarding the ethnic Serbs’ status in Croatia, are intimidating, given that the decision of benign nature is connected thus with a series of inappropriate conclusions,” the DSHV said in a press release.
The party says it would prefer if Minister Stefanovic made public statement about the case of the beating of a Catholic priest recently in a monastery in Vojvodina or if he presented results of what Serbia had done to meet its commitments.
The Democratic Alliance of the Vojvodina Croats on Friday signed a coalition agreement with the Democratic Party (DS) for Serbia’s general elections set for 24 April.
The political party representing Croats in Serbia recalls that it was the DS that recognised the Croat community as an ethnic minority when it came to power in 2000, whereby paving the way for the exercise of minority rights through institutions and through engagement in Serbia’s social life.
In order to survive in Serbia’s political life, the DSHV is forced to cooperate and make coalitions with major political parties and cannot run in an election on its own due to Serbia’s failure to implement a bilateral agreement with Croatia under which ethnic Croats in Serbia are entitled directly to have seats in the Serbian legislature.