Dragan Čović


Dragan Čović (pronounced [drǎgan t͡ʃǒːʋit͡ɕ]; born 20 August 1956) is a Bosnian Croat politician and President of the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HDZ BiH) party since 2005. He is a current member of the national House of Peoples.

Dragan Čović
Member of the House of Peoples
Assumed office
16 February 2019
In office
9 June 2011  17 November 2014
7th Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina
In office
17 July 2017  17 March 2018
Preceded byMladen Ivanić
Succeeded byBakir Izetbegović
In office
17 July 2015  17 March 2016
Preceded byMladen Ivanić
Succeeded byBakir Izetbegović
In office
27 June 2003  28 February 2004
Preceded byBorislav Paravac
Succeeded bySulejman Tihić
In office
2 April 2003  10 April 2003
Preceded byMirko Šarović
Succeeded byBorislav Paravac
4th Croat Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina
In office
17 November 2014  20 November 2018
Prime MinisterVjekoslav Bevanda
Denis Zvizdić
Preceded byŽeljko Komšić
Succeeded byŽeljko Komšić
In office
5 October 2002  9 May 2005
Prime MinisterAdnan Terzić
Preceded byJozo Križanović
Succeeded byIvo Miro Jović
President of the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Assumed office
5 June 2005
Preceded byBariša Čolak
Prime Minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Acting
In office
10 January 2001  12 March 2001
PresidentIvo Andrić-Lužanski
Karlo Filipović
Preceded byEdhem Bičakčić
Succeeded byAlija Behmen
Federal Minister of Finance
In office
12 December 1998  10 January 2001
Prime MinisterEdhem Bičakčić
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byNikola Grabovac
Personal details
Born (1956-08-20) 20 August 1956 (age 64)
Mostar, PR Bosnia and Herzegovina, FPR Yugoslavia
Political partyCroatian Democratic Union (1994–present)
Other political
affiliations
League of Communists (before 1992)
Spouse(s)Bernardica Prskalo
Children2
Alma materUniversity of Mostar
University of Sarajevo
AwardsOrder of the Croatian Trefoil (1997)

Čović was the Croat Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina on two occasions.

Education and managerial career


Čović attended elementary school and technical high school of mechanical engineering in Mostar till 1975. He graduated as mechanical engineer from the Faculty of Engineering at University Džemal Bijedić of Mostar in 1979.[1]

In 1980, he joined the aircraft manufacturer SOKO in Mostar, where he worked in technology and control sections.[1] From 1986 to 1992 he was a manager at SOKO, including as director of business unit, director of production and vice president for industrialization. From 1992 till 1998, he took over as director-general of SOKO.[1]

Čović gained a master's degree in 1989 at the Faculty of Engineering in Mostar, and, from 1989–91, he attended studies of management at the Faculty of Economy at the University of Sarajevo. He obtained a PhD from the University of Mostar in 1996.[1]

From 1994–96 he taught Economics and Organization of Production as a senior assistant at the Faculty of Engineering in Mostar, after which he was named assistant professor and taught Development of Production Systems. Four years later, he became an associate professor and in 2004 he was a full professor of the University of Mostar. He worked at the Faculty of Economy in Mostar, and also in regular and postgraduate studies. In 2007, he became visiting professor at the University of Mostar's Faculty of Philosophy, and in 2014 member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts of BiH.[1]

Early political career


In 1994, Čović joined the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HDZ BiH). Two years later, he became a member of the cantonal committee of HDZ. In 1997, he became the president of the city committee of HDZ in Mostar.

In 1998, Čović became vice president of HDZ, while in 2002, he became the party's presidency member. In 2005, he was elected HDZ president. From 1998 to 2001, Čović served as the Federal Minister of Finance.[1] From 10 January 2001 until 12 March 2001, he served as Acting Prime Minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, succeeding SDA's Edhem Bičakčić. Čović served as Acting Prime Minister for two months, before he himslef got succeeded by Alija Behmen of the Social Democratic Party (SDP BiH).[2]

First presidency (2002–2005)


At the general election in 2002, Čović was elected as member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina with 114,606 votes.[1] He was a Presidency member until 29 March 2005, when he was removed from office by the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Paddy Ashdown, for abuse of power and position. Ashdown's decision was very rigorous and without any judicial review or right of appeal.

Post-Presidency (2005–2014)


Čović with Croatian President Ivo Josipović in 2014

Since 2005, Čović has been President of HDZ BiH.[1]

In May 2011, he became a member of the House of Peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina and in February 2012, he was named Chairman of the House of Peoples.[1] Čović would chair the House once more in 2014.[1] In 2011, he was also appointed President of the Croatian National Assembly.[1]

During the numerous failed negotiations to implement the 2009 ECtHR Sejdić-Finci judgment, Čović has been singled out by analysts [who?] as blocking a solution, maintaining that Bosnian Croats must be able to elect their own member in the Presidency.[citation needed]

Prud Agreement

Together with the leaders of the three most important 'nationalist' political parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who acted as representatives of the constituent peoples, Milorad Dodik of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) and Sulejman Tihić of the Party of Democratic Action (SDA), Čović created the Prud Agreement or Prud Process, an agreement that pertained to state property, census, constitutional changes, reconstructing the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina and solving the legal status of Brčko District. The agreement was created in the village of Prud on 8 November 2008.[3][4][5] The reforms promised by the agreement would "build the ability of the State to meet the requirements of the EU integration process".[6]

At a subsequent meeting in Banja Luka on 26 January 2009, the party leaders set out a plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina as a decentralized country with three levels of government. The middle level of government was anticipated to be made up by four territorial units with legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.[7]

Controversy surrounded the creation of a third entity, Republika Srpska’s territorial integrity, and the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[8][9]

Čović speaking at an EPP Madrid Congress in Spain, October 2015

A further meeting was held in Mostar on 23 February 2009, hosted by Čović.[7]

On 20 July 2009, the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Valentin Inzko suggested that the process between the three 'nationalist' parties had effectively ended. Instead it had changed into a process involving many more political parties. Inzko believed that minor level constitutional reform can be delivered through the meetings.[10]

When the Prud process failed, Milorad Dodik and his SNSD party became close partners to Čović's HDZ BiH party.

Second presidency (2014–2018)


Čović with Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sebastian Kurz in 2015

At the October 2014 election Čović was re-elected as Croat member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[1] He chaired the Presidency between November 2015 and March 2016, during which period on 15 February 2016, Bosnia and Herzegovina submitted its EU membership application. Čović held again the chair of the Presidency in the July-November 2017 period.

At the October 2018 elections, he lost his bid for re-election as Croat member of the Bosnian Presidency to Željko Komšić (former member of Presidency from 2006 until 2014).[11] He and the HDZ BiH accused Komšić to garner support from Bosniak rather than Croat voters and thus not to be a legitimate representative of Bosnian Croats in the country's presidency.

Investigations and indictments


In November 2006, Čović was sentenced to five years in prison for exempting the Ivanković-Lijanović company of paying taxes on meat imports. The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on appeal, annulled the sentence and acquitted him for lack of jurisdiction.

In 2009, Čović was accused of spending public funds to buy private homes for certain people. In April 2010, he was acquitted.[12]

Čović alongside Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan (middle) and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (right) in 2016

On 14 May 2010, a third indictment for Čović and six other persons was confirmed by the Court of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton (HNC), this time for abuse of power and position. He and other committee members of the Croatian Post and Telecom (HPT) were accused of transferring a debt of nearly 4,7 million Convertible Marks from the non-existing Ministry of Defence of the Croatian Defence Council to three private companies.[12] By receiving the debt, those three companies became owners of shares in Eronet, the most profitable telecommunicational section of the HPT. At the time, Čović was Federal Minister of Finance and president of the Steering Committee of the HPT. The Court of the HNC asked that this case be brought in front of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but the FBiH Supreme Court ruled the case had to be tried in Mostar. In May 2012, Čović was acquitted.[12]

In March 2021, Čović was sanction by the Conflict of Interest Commission of Bosnia and Herzegovina with a reduction of 10% of his parliamentary salary for violation of the Law on Conflict of Interest, as in 2017 he received double compensation, both as member of the national House of Peoples and of the Croatian National Assembly.[13]

Personal life


Čović is married to Bernardica Prskalo and together they have two children.

On 19 July 2020, it was confirmed that he tested positive for COVID-19, amid its pandemic in Bosnia and Herzegovina;[14] by 4 August, he recovered.[15]

References


  1. Official biography Archived 23 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine;accessed 8 September 2018.
  2. "Mayor of Sarajevo". City of Sarajevo. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
  3. http://www.sda.ba/files/file/ZAJEDNICKA%5B%5D IZJAVA.pdf
  4. http://www.setimes.com/cocoon/setimes/xhtml/en_GB/features/setimes/features/2009/01/27/feature-01
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 19 January 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 December 2008. Retrieved 18 December 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. Katana, G. 2009. 'Prudski trojac u Banjoj Luci podijelo BiH na četiri regije' (Prud troika divide BiH into four regions in Banja Luka), Oslobođenje 27 January 2009.
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 April 2009. Retrieved 27 January 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 February 2009. Retrieved 27 January 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. SETimes 20 July 2009
  11. Er. M. (8 October 2018). "CIK ponovo potvrdio: Džaferović, Dodik i Komšić novi članovi Predsjedništva BiH" (in Bosnian). Klix.ba. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  12. CIN: Dragan Covic
  13. "Dragan Čović i Nenad Nešić kažnjeni zbog sukoba interesa, odbit će im 10 posto od plate" (in Bosnian). Klix.ba. 3 March 2021. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  14. I.P. (19 July 2020). "Dragan Čović pozitivan na koronavirus" (in Bosnian). Klix.ba. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  15. "Predsjednik HDZ-a Dragan Čović se oporavio od koronavirusa" (in Bosnian). Klix.ba. 4 August 2020. Retrieved 4 August 2020.