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news 07 Jan 14

Minister's Sacking Plunges Bosnia Entity Into Crisis

Prime Minister of Bosnia's Federation entity says President is jeopardizing vital financial transactions by axing minister without due cause.

Elvira M. Jukic

Nermin Niksic, Prime Minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has warned that major transactions from the entity budget, such as repaying foreign debts and paying salaries and pensions, now risked being blocked.

This is because the larger of Bosnia's two entities no longer has a finance minister to sign them off, following Ante Krajina's dismissal last week.

Niksic blamed Zivko Budimir, President of the Federation entity, for the crisis, saying that he would take the case of the dismissal to the Constitutional Court, as it was illegal.

Budimir sacked Krajina on Friday, acting on the basis of a demand that Niksic himself had made in 2012 for him to axe eight ministers following coalition changes in the entity.

Niksic recalled that when he asked the President to dismiss the ministers, including Krajina, Budimir then said he would not do it.

Niksic said the President was now misusing his authorities. "This is his 'plan B' to cause chaos in the Federation,” he said.

However, Budimir said he was acting now on Niksic's previous demand partly because of a fresh issue related to complaints by war veterans who had not received their pensions.

Niksic on Monday insisted Krajina was not at fault, as the veterans in question had refused to cooperate with government inspectors tasked with reviewing veterans' pension rights.

Krajina, meanwhile, on Monday noted that the entity finance minister has many documents to sign off, including repayments of foreign debts.

“We would lose our credibility,” Krajina warned. “It would be the first external obligation that this government did not honour.”

Niksic said the only way forward now was for the whole entity government to resign, “and then go to parliament to see who can get support”.

He also said it was clear that Budimir was trying to replace ministers with members of his own newly formed party, the Party of Justice and Trust, SPP.

The initial coalition government in the Federation entity in 2012 comprised the Social Democratic Party, SDP - of which Niksic is a member - and three other parties: the Party of Democratic Action, SDA, the Croatian Party of Rights, HSP, and the People's Party Work for Progress, NSRzB.

Later in 2012, the SDP formed a new parliamentary majority with other parties, which was why Niksic then asked the President to dismiss eight ministers from the government.

Budimir, who was then a member of HSP, refused to confirm the dismissals. But in 2013 he then formed his own party.

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