25 Mar 11

Election of Bosnia Federation Leaders Deemed Illegal

Bosnia's Social Democrats will appeal a decision of the Central Election Commission to annul the election of the president of the Federation entity, as government formation drags on in the country.

Eldin Hadzovic
Sarajevo

The Social Democrats, SDP, who lead the disputed government coalition in the mainly Croat-Bosniak [Muslim] entity, are expected to appeal against Thursday's decision by the Commission, CEC.

This said that the election of the president and vice-presidents of the Federation was not in accordance with Bosnian law.

At an emergency meeting on Thursday, the CEC determined that the requirements were not met for the formation of the Federation's upper house, the House of Peoples, on March 17, because the appointment of delegates from all ten Federation cantons had not been completed.

The two main Croatian parties, Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, and HDZ 1990, which hold the majority in the cantons in question, did not send representatives to the House of Peoples because they did not reach agreement on the formation of a government with the SDP bloc.

The CEC decision is not final, the Commission spokesperson told Balkan Insight, explaining that Bosnia's state court is expected to reach the final decision by April 4, leaving time for appeals.

Meanwhile, the Federation's Constitutional Court is also expected to rule on a complaint filed by the incumbent president of the Federation, Borjana Kristo from the HDZ, who called for a review of the constitution of the House of Peoples, and the election of Federation's president and vice-presidents.

An expert on constitutional law, Professor Kasim Trnka, said that yesterday's decision by the CEC may call the whole election of the new government of the Federation into question. According to Trnka, the Federation's budget for this year, and all payments from the budget, including salaries, pensions and disability benefits, may also be called into question.

"If the Court confirms the decision of the CEC, the fall of the new government is inevitable", Trnka was quoted as saying in the media.

The Federation government, headed by newly appointed Prime Minister Nermin Niksic, adopted a proposed budget for this year of 1.699 billion KM (about €850 million), and sent it to parliament.

The parties that elected the Federation's president and vice-presidents last week include the SDP and another mainly Bosniak group, the Party for Democratic Action, SDA, together with two minor Croat parties, the Croatian Party of Rights, HSP, and the People's Party Prosperity Through work, NSRzB.

At the session of the House of Representatives on March 17 the parties elected the Zivko Budimir from the HSP as president of the Federation and Svetozar Pudaric from the SDP and Mirsad Kebo from the SDA as vice presidents.

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