news 16 Oct 12

Bosnia Ruling Parties Discuss Changes to Govt

Leaders of Bosnia's ruling parties have started bilateral meetings on possible government changes, announcing a joint meeting once they have determined their stands.

Elvira M. Jukic

Zlatko Lagumdzija, SDP, and Dragan Covic, HDZBiH

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Zlatko Lagumdzija and Dragan Covic, leaders of the Social Democratic Party and the Croatian Democratic Union respectively, met on October 15 in Sarajevo to talk about the reconstruction of the state government and Federation entity government.

Lagumdzija described the meeting with Covic as one of several bilateral meetings of the ruling six parties that will be held in coming days before a joint meeting.

“I hope that we will solve open questions with the key question being which is the ruling coalition in this country,” Lagumdzija said.

He added that this should comprise his own SDP, the Alliance for a Better Future of Bosnia, SBB, the two main Croat parties, the Serbian Democratic Party and the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats.

Lagumdzija said that no meeting was planned with Sulejman Tihic, leader of the Party of Democratic Action, SDA, which was his coalition partner until May 31.

The current state government was formed in February by the SDP, the SDA, the two Croatian Democratic Union, the SDS and the SNSD.

After the SDP-SDA coalition broke up at the end of May, the SDP found a new political partner in the SBB, led by Fahrudin Radoncic, who has seats in parliament but not in the government.

The SDP has since asked the state Prime Minister to dismiss the two SDA ministers and one deputy minister, a process still unfinished.

The SDP has also bypassed the SDA in terms of meetings of the ruling parties, referring to it now as an opposition party.

The crisis, which started at the end of May with the demand to dismiss the SDA ministers, deepened in August when the two Serbian parties demanded that Lagumdzija and one other SDP official should themselves be dismissed from the government.

This followed claims that Lagumdzija, as Bosnian Foreign Minister, instructed Bosnia’s representative to vote in support of a UN resolution on Syria without due consultation.

The two Serbian parties have also demanded that the SDP deputy speaker of parliament, Denis Becirovic, go for sending an “unauthorized” protest to Serbia for calling the Bosnian Serb entity, the Republika Srpska, a “state”.

In September all the parties agreed to postpone further talks and dedicate themselves to their campaigns for the municipal election held on October 7.

Most votes in the local election then went to SDA, which now feels empowered to stop the dismissal of its ministers from the state government and the government of the Federation entity.

The SDP still wants to kick out the SDA and two small Croat parties and replace them with the SBB and the two HDZ sister parties.

SBB leader Fahrudin Radoncic is due to meet Dragan Covic on Tuesday in Mostar.

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