IBNA/Analysis: RS parties shuffle the deck in bid for better position 

IBNA/Analysis: RS parties shuffle the deck in bid for better position 

In next few weeks the Republic of Srpska political scene will, according to unofficial information, face irrevocable changes that will have more of an impact than any other in post war history.

At the moment everything is still rumors but, as everybody in BiH knows, rumors very often are a good indicator that some relations will be revised. This time, two coalitions in RS are faced with the possibility of changes. The ruling coalition, led by Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) with partners, Socialist Party (SP) and Democratic Peoples Alliance (DNS), must rearrange their relations, albeit very fast, since the stabilization period of the new arrangements must take place before the looming economic crisis hits the country with full power.

On the other side, opposition coalition, Alliance for Changes, consisted by Serb Democratic Party (SDS), Party of Democratic Progress (PDP) and several smaller parties, is facing far more problems since SDS appears to have been broken in two parties and PDP suffers a dramatic drop in the number of its members.

Everyone who want to be honest and objective, must admit that the changes which are supposed to take place are, in fact, something predictable and had been expected for some time now.

DNS wants a “bigger part of the cake”

Although SNSD leader, Milorad Dodik, is trying to convince the public that there is no crisis and that the ruling coalition is stable, rumors say that DNS and its president, Marko Pavic (photo), will demand changes and better position for his party in the coalition. He recently said that “coalition partners will hold a meeting as soon as Dodik returns from his official visit to Russia”. Demands for revision of relations come after the DNS MPs in RS National Assembly voted against the sale of the Ljubija mine to the Israeli Investment Group. Many analyst consider this act as a “probe balloon” for further demands.

Events after the said voting in RSNA reveal that some things are not so bright in the ruling coalition. The minister who suggested the arrangement with Israeli group is Petar Djokic, leader of Socialist Party. Refusing to sell the mine according to his suggestion was the biggest slap in the face since the coalition was established. DNS demanded that Djokic resign and, just a few days later, Dodik accused one DNS minister that his work is not in accordance with the coalition agreement.

The question is: why has this happend? The answer is not so simple, but someone who follows the situation will remember that Pavic, a few months ago at a press conference, stated that DNS is stronger every day and that “soon it will be the third strongest party in RS”. According to public opinion research at the time, SNSD was first in popularity, SDS was second, PDP was third and DNS in fourth place. However, as Pavic said at that press conference, DNS is close to becoming the third party according to popularity and number of members.

Obviously, the time came when DNS leaders feel that they deserve a bigger part of the cake. It means that they will demand more ministers in RS Government. Rumors say that in the following period the entity Government will change at least five ministers.

What’s interesting is that still none of the coalition leaders, despite their disagreements, mentioned the ultimately solution by threatening to leave the coalition. It looks like they will stay as a coalition, but they are aware that changes are necessary. As to how many changes the Socialist Party will agree on depends on the offers.

Cracks in opposition parties

More obvious than in the ruling coalition, disagreements in opposition have already been announced with several events. It is necessary to remind that SDS leader at the time of local elections last year, Mladen Bosic, due to weak election results resigned and left the leader position to young Vukota Govedarica, leader of SDS parliamentary caucus in RSNA. Many in the party were not delighted with this choice and the “quakes” in the biggest opposition party in RS were, at least, expected. The first sign that something is not OK in this party came after prominent member of SDS, Ognjen Tadic, was forced to resign from the all party positions he held in the last years. After this decision, Tadic was isolated but kept the position of MP in state Parliament.

Vukota Govedarica

The biggest sign that changes are at the SDS doors is the recent session of party Main Board, in the city of Bijeljina, without the presence of Tadic and, surprisingly, BiH Security Minister, Dragan Mektic. For ordinary people and party friends, Tadic’s decision to ignore this meeting was the logical and only possible solution.

In the last few few days, rumors say, Tadic plans to establish a new political party, while it is still unknown how many SDS members will change side and leave Govedarica. One of them, possibly, will be Mektic who, recently, also resigned from all party positions he held at this moment.

The situation is so serious that one of the SDS founders, Momcilo Krajisnik, has sent a dramatic warning to Govedarica and “loyal members of Party” to prevent Tadic’s plans and cleavage in the party. In the end, the whole situation looks like a personal battle between Govedarica and Tadic, with uncertain result.

On the other side, PDP leaders are aware that something is wrong and that they are losing members. It was confirmed on Sunday by PDP vice president, Igor Crnadak, who said that “the party must reach the maximum number of members it had a few months after its establishment”. As one of the reasons for the loss of members, analyst consider also the change on the leader’s position since PDP founder, Mladen Ivanic, left the position of the leader to young, Branislav Borenovic, who is, like Govedarica, party MP in RSNA.

Branislav Borenovic

At this point everything is possible as the opposition will attempt to “grab the pole position” for the general elections in the fall 2018. All parties know that it is a job they must get done as soon as is possible in order to consolidate the new situation in political relations and gather a bigger number of voters. In BiH, it is normal that the next election campaign begins, in fact, right after the election./ΙΒΝΑ