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news 02 Apr 14

Serbian Province in Line for Reduced Powers

Serbia's northern autonomous province will no longer have its own 'government' and 'capital', among other changes, according to a draft statute up for discussion.

Beta, BIRN

The government of the Serbian province of Vojvodina and its capital Novi Sad are soon to be transformed into an "executive council" and a "seat of the provincial authority", if a new draft statute for the province is adopted.

"The northern province of Vojvodina will no longer be in charge of establishing basic policy at the level of the autonomous province of Vojvodina," it reads.

The province "will no longer be the highest body and carrier of normative power", adds the draft, which a working group unveiled in the provincial assembly on Tuesday.

The draft document no longer envisions the existence of a Council of National Communities, but a Working Body for National Equality, which will be established in its place by the assembly.

A session devoted to reviewing the draft statute is due to be held at the end of April or beginning of May.

Tensions over the future of the province, which is more multi-ethnic than Serbia proper, rose in July 2012, after a Constitutional Court ruling curbed Vojvodina's powers.

The Court disputed around 20 provisions of the law of the jurisdictions of Vojvodina, including those naming Novi Sad as capital of the province, and entitling Vojvodina to open its own representative office in Brussels.

The law on Vojvodina was implemented on January 1, 2010. The provincial assembly previously proclaimed its own statute on December 14, 2009.

Serbian nationalists have long complained about what they see as a a drive towards separatism in the province.

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