New obstacles for the referendum in RS

New obstacles for the referendum in RS

Banja Luka, September 1, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Mladen Dragojlovic

Every day new obstacles are set for the Republic of Srpska that wants to have a referendum about January 9, as the Day of RS.

The latest one is coming from Serbia where, on the meeting of RS politicians with Serbian PM and president, Aleksandar Vucic and Tomislav Nikolic, they said that they do not support the referendum but also do not deny the right of RS to hold it on such an important issue.

“Serbia will, regardless of certain differences in the visions of the situation in the region, still support the Serbian nation, the Republic of Srpska citizens and its institutions”, emphasized Nikolic and Vucic in a joint statement, which was given to the media in front of the Presidency building, where they had a meeting with the leaders of the RS.

Nikolic and Vucic had an urgent meeting, two days ago, when Peace Implementation Council Steering Board in BiH demanded of RS to suspend the decision about the referendum. At the same time, RS president Milorad dodik, who initiated the referendum, was celebrating the birth of his fifth grandchild, like nothing was happening.

“I am celebrating, not interested in any PIC SB statements or anything else that is coming from that anti-SErb institution”, Dodik said when the media contacted him.

But a day after the celebration he came face to face with reality and had to admit that it will be a great challenge to finish the job about this event. He was still saying that there is no institution which can ban the referendum as the highest democratic expression of will of citizens.

On Thursday, the Central Election Commission rejected a request from the RS Referendum Committee to provide voter lists for the referendum, qualifying it as “unjustified and unacceptable”. The explanation is more a technical issue and RS Committee announced that they will set a complaint to the competent Court. Central Election commission member from RS, Branko Peric, told reporters that the decision of the rejection of the RS demand was brought by over voting and that it is not the first time that members of this institution are doing such thing when demands from RS are on session schedule.

In this situation Dodik does not have too many chances. His referendum initiative after the decision of BiH Constitutional Court that January 9 is not in accordance with BiH Constitution because it is not the holiday of all constitutional nations which live in RS, was disputed from the beginning but nobody said that it is possible to ban it.

Support of all parliamentary parties in RS made it possible to have the referendum but now it is clear that, even if the referendum takes place and regardless of the result, the only one who stands to lose is Milorad Dodik who will face accusations for unconstitutional and anti-Dayton Peace Agreement activity.

On the other hand, if RS suspends the decision on the referendum, Dodik’s party, Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), will have a large problem to win local elections. At the same time, the suspension of the referendum will give grounds to opposition parties to fight SNSD on this and all future elections.

So, the question is: why did the opposition support the decision on the referendum in RS National Assembly? Is it because it is a game they cannot lose?