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News 13 Sep 17

Bosnian Serb Opposition MPs Block Assembly’s Work

Protests over the assembly’s refusal to consider a highly critical report on the budget are fuelling a sense of political impasse in Republika Srprska.

Danijel Kovacevic
BIRN
Banja Luka
Photo: Republika Srpska National Assembly

For the second day in a row, over 30 opposition members of parliament in Republika Srpska, the Serb-dominated entity of Bosnia, took up seats behind the table of the speaker, preventing the session from being held until their demands were met.

Negotiations that lasted from Tuesday evening to Wednesday to noon ended without result.

Owing to their blockade of the main chamber, the ruling coalition, with the assistance of police, continued the session in a smaller hall in the parliament building.

The reason for the blockade was the decision of parliament’s leadership to remove the Audit Report on the Budget’s Execution from the agenda.

The report uncovered a debt of 175 million Bosnian marks, around 95 million euros, in the entity budget, but the ruling coalition has rejected the findings, claiming they were reached in a tendentious, unprofessional manner.

The Chief Auditor of the RS, Dusko Snjegota and the Deputy Auditor, General Darko Pejic, have submitted their resignations over the report, after Milorad Dodik, the RS President, requested their removal.

Opposition MPs said the report must be returned onto the agenda, the government must answer all the questions from MPs that it has not yet answered, and the entry into force of all decisions that parliament has adopted, which have not entered into force, must be ensured.

The ruling coalition suggested considering the Audit Report at the next parliamentary session but the opposition did not accept that proposal.

“We are here to respect parliament, which in recent years, and especially this week, has been greatly usurped by the irresponsibility of the government,” Branislav Borenovic, leader of the Party of Democratic Progress, which is a part of the opposition bloc, told the media.

“We are outraged that the parliamentary majority has not accepted the legitimate demands for parliament to return to its constitutional framework,” Borenovic said.

“As of today, the Republika Srpska is entering its worst and most serious political crisis over … the contempt for the constitution and laws on the part of the RS President, government and the president of parliament and the ruling parties,” opposition MP Goran Djordjic said.

The demand to ensure the entry into force of all decisions that parliament has adopted and which have not entered into force refers to the decision to call a referendum on trust in the Bosnia’s state’s judicial institutions.

The RS parliament adopted the call for a referendum in July 2015. But the decision was never published in the Official Gazette and so could not be implemented. 

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