OHR warns parties on obstructions in Parliament

OHR warns parties on obstructions in Parliament

Sarajevo, March 19, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Mladen Dragojlovic

Since MPs from Alliance of independent social democrats (SNSD) didn’t participate on the session of House of peoples in BiH Parliament, several days ago, work of this institution was blocked with lack of quorum, which caused a reaction from many institutions, including Office of high representative in BiH.

As SNSD previously announced, being unsatisfied with distribution of positions in parliament commissions, they decided to boycott sessions of House of Peoples, which must confirm all decisions of House of Representatives. Although it seemed like a  warning, three SNSD MPs really didn’t come on the session and it had to be postponed as a result.

SNSD vice president, Nikola Spiric, told the media that it is a normal decision since this party wants to “protect the election result of the party in every possible way”. The biggest problem is that House of Representatives didn’t appoint him as Serb member of Commission for control of state security agencies and on this place was appointed a man from another party.

Serb Democratic Party delegate in House of Representatives, Aleksandra Pandurevic, stated that it is “out of the question” to grant such a responsible function to Spiric under pressure, including obstruction of work of House of People.

This problem arose just several days after Brussels gave the green light for entry into force of the BiH Stabilization and Association with EU. It means that in the future BiH will face a lot of new obligations and must make changes in large number of laws, but all of them must be confirmed in the House of Peoples.

International community High Representative in BiH, Valentin Inzko, warned all parties that they must respect state institutions.

“I expect all political parties to respect the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Parties need to ensure that institutions, in this case the House of Peoples, are able to work and adopt decisions without obstructions. Any action that would paralyze the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and prevent the Parliament from functioning is unconstructive and unacceptable. Such actions represent a significant step in the wrong direction”, Inzko said in a written statement.

He emphasised that OHR’s view remains unchanged: the House of Peoples – a Dayton institution – must be able to fulfil its mandate in full capacity as prescribed in the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Inzko said that the way to resolve political disputes is for parties and MPs to take part in the parliamentary process.

“I therefore appeal to the MPs to honour their mandates and enable the House of Peoples to work in a regular and uninterrupted fashion. This is in the interest of institutions, but above all in the interest of citizens who gave the MPs their trust and support – to ensure the functioning of institutions, as well as to work in them”, Inzko stressed.

The next chance for a session is Monday, but SNSD MPs already said that they will not participate. According to law, at least nine MPs must be on session but every constitutional nation (Serb, Croat and Bosniaks) must be represented with at least three members. In this case, there will be just two of five Serb MPs and as a result the House of Peoples will again be prevented from having a session.