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To prevent its ministers from being immediately dismissed from the state government, the Bosniak Party of Democratic Action, SDA, has proclaimed the move a threat to vital national interests.
The Party of Democratic Action, which holds three out of five Bosniak [Muslim] seats in the Bosnia's House of Peoples - one of two chambers in the state parliament - has blocked the immediate dismissal of its ministers by proclaiming it an attack on Bosniak national interests.
Using the argument about vital national interests, the SDA prevented the dismissal of its ministers, when it was clear they could have been outvoted by the majority.
At a parliament session on July 19, the SDA tried first to avoid having the decision of Prime Minister Vjekoslav Bevanda put on parliament's agenda.
After this idea was not backed by the majority of lawmakers, three Bosniak deputies from the SDA moved an initiative that their community's vital interests were endangered.
Halid Genjac, president of the Bosniak Caucus in the House of Peoples, said that if the SDA ministers were dismissed, posting new men would take months and during that time Bosniaks would be underrepresented in the state government.
“When a minister is dismissed, his mandate ends immediately,” Genjac explained. “If two Bosniak ministers are dismissed, a long dispute is likely to happen, harming Bosniak interests in the government.
“We had something like that in the last government, when posting a new minister took five months,” Genjac added.
Most lawmakers did not support the idea that the Bosniak national interest was endangered.
However, the procedure is that a commission comprising one Bosniak, one Croat and one Serb must assess the complaint within the next five days, or the issue goes to the Constitutional Court.
Bevanda said that Security and Defence Ministers Sadik Ahmetovic and Muhamed Ibrahimovic, as well as Fuad Kasumovic, Deputy Finance Minister, must go, following the fall of the SDA's coalition with the ruling Social Democrats.
“When the government was formed in February, as part of the agreement of the parliamentary majority, the SDA got its ministers' posts,” Bevanda recalled.
“But the right to change one's political standpoints... is an undisputed democratic right,” he added, referring to the fall of the SDA-SDP coalition.
Genjac agreed that it was legitimate to change the parliamentary majority, but said that “this then has to include the Prime Minister and the members of the Council of Ministers [the state government], which means that the Prime Minister should also resign”.
The House of Peoples is made up of 15 delegates, five from each of the main ethnic groups in Bosnia, Croats, Serbs and Bosniaks. Three of five Bosniak seats belong to SDA and two to the SDP.
The initiative to sack the SDA ministers follows the fall of SDA-SDP coalition, which occured after the SDA refused to support the 2012 state budget.
When the SDA refused to withdraw its ministers voluntarily, the SDP leader Zlatko Lagumdzija asked Bevanda to order the ministerial changes.
In the meantime, the SDP chose the former opposition Alliance for a Better Future, SBB, as its new partner.
The SBB leader, Fahrudin Radoncic, owner of the most read daily newspaper in Bosnia, Dnevni Avaz, has said he wishes to take the post of the Security Minister once Ahmetovic is dismissed. The SDP will post a new Defence Minister.
After the 2012 budget was approved by parliament, despite the opposition of the Party of Democratic Action, SDA, the leader of the Social Democrats, SDP, demanded that the party withdraw its ministers.
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