news 24 Dec 12

Bosnia Federation In Deadlock Over Ministers

Zivko Budimir, President of the Bosniak-Croat Federation, has refused to dismiss eight ministers, prompting the entity Prime Minister, Nermin Niksic, to accuse him of violating democratic procedures.

Elvira M. Jukic

The President of the Bosniak-Croat entity has refused to dismiss ministers who belong to parties that are not the part of the new parliamentary majority.

President Budimir rejected Niksic's demand to dismiss eight of the 16 ministers from the government until their cases are resolved by the relevant courts.

“As a President of the Federation I don't want to interfere in decisions of the judiciary which... refer to open questions over disputes in the functioning of the government,” Budimir said.

The eight ministers come from the Party of Democratic Action, SDA, the Croatian Party of Rights, HSP, and the People's Party Work for Progress, NSRZB.

In summer these parties went into pposition in the entity parliament after the ruling Social Democratic Party, SDP, formed alliances with other parties.

Niksic, a member of the SDP, as Prime Minister, demanded their dismissals so that the new parliamentary majority could appoint new ministers.

Under the Federation's constitution, the President has the right to make the final decision.

Referring on Thursday to accusations about the work of the ministers, Budimir said he was not the one to decide whether the ministers had done something wrong but would wait for judicial bodies to decide.

On December 10 Niksic asked the President to dismiss the ministers because they were not part of the new parliamentary majority and it was thus questionable whether they would let the government function properly.

At the beginning of the month, one of the ministers asked the Constitutional Court to rule on whether Niksic had violated the rules by sending the budget proposal for 2013 to parliament without the approval of all ministers.

Earlier, the eight filed complaints to Prosecutors over alleged irregularities in extending the mandate of the director of the Development Bank.
Opposing Niksic's decision to extend the mandate of the bank director, Ramiz Dzaferovic, the ministers refused to attend the government session when the 2013 budget was to be adopted.

Pressured by an IMF deadline of December 5, Niksic sent the document to parliament without obtaining prior approval from the government, under the explanation that the entity's finances would be endangered if it did not get the IMF money.

“It is questionable how grounded the arguments of the PM are that failure to adopt the budget would lead to serious consequences to the Federation, its citizens and economy,” Budimir said.

He added that until the cases were resolved in court, he hoped the government would function normally.

But Niksic on Thursday said that Budimir had abused his position and placed his personal interest before those of the parliamentary majority.

“Budimir decided, breaking the Constitution, to block and obstruct the executive and the legislative government no matter what consequences that caused,” Niksic said.

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