Sarajevo, July 20, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Mladen Dragojlonic
The turbulent political summer in BiH continues with new discussions and battles in the parliaments, this time about the RS National Assembly decision to hold referendum on the January 9, as the RS Day. The Constitutional Court of BiH, a few months ago, decided that this holiday is not in accordance with BiH Constitution since it mirrors the wish of Serbs, but not other constitutional nations in BiH, Croats and Bosniaks.
January 9 is since end of war the point of Bosniaks discontent because it marks the day when Republic of Srpska was established in 1992. After that date, war was on the door and the whole of BiH soon exploded in the bloodiest conflict in Balkan War and SFR Yugoslavia dissolution. In an attempt to protect the marking of this important day for Serb nation in BiH, RS ruling parties initiated, and the opposition accepted, the referendum to break the BiH Constitutional Court decision and to show that they have the support of RS citizens. But, the decision to hold the referendum just week before local elections, even to hold it in the first place, made Bosniaks in BiH very dissatisfied. RS NA MPs from Bosniak and Croat nation, on the joint press conference after decision said that they will initiate a referendum on the existence of RS as an entity in BiH. As they explained, the referendum about RS Day is anti-constitutional and against the Dayton Peace Agreement.
“We will initiate the referendum with question: Do you want to change the BiH Constitution and abolition RS?, explained Bosniak MP, Nedim Civic.
He added that, if RS organize referendum, it means that everybody can organize the similar referendum about any issue in BiH, including the existence of RS.
But, that was not enough to deter Serb parties from continuing with preparations for referendum. The importance of this issue for Bosniaks can be seen in the fact that part of MPs in state Parliament at Wednesday demanded from SDA party president, Bakir Izetbegovic, and BiH Council of Ministers Chairman, Denis Zvizdic, to organize meeting with representatives of political parties which didn’t vote in favor of the referendum in the RS National Assembly.
Denis Becirovic, Sasa Magazinovic, Maja Gasal-Vrazalica, Mirsad Mesic, Mensura Beganovic, Damir Becirovic, Semsudin Mehmedovic, Zaim Backovic and Jasmin Emric signed the “public call” to Izetbegovic and Zvizdic to hold the meeting. In the call they are emphasizing that the decision on referendum is “anti-dayton, anti-constitutional and illegal” and represents the most dangerous attack on Dayton Peace Agreement and BiH Constitution.
Many analysts in the country are seeing this situation as being part of the election campaign. A referendum, for most of them, is a populist way for all RS political parties to show that they are against any decision which endanger the entity basic values and to rise the popularity among voters. On the other side, Bosniak parties see this issue as the chance to show that they protect this nation and Dayton Peace Agreement. It is “a situation that has been seen again”, which in various manners, is being repeated before every elections since the war ended.
International community still didn’t react on the referendum decision and Office of the International Community High Representative in BiH announced that it is “reviewing the issue” and that decision will be announced later. OSCE Mission to BiH Head, Jonathan Moore, said on Wednesday in Banja Luka that this Mission is not responsible for the referendum.
“A referendum is the democratic mechanism but Court decisions must be respected”, Moore stated after meeting with leader of NDP, Dragan Cavic.