“Referendum war” begun in BiH

“Referendum war” begun in BiH

Sarajevo, August 15, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Mladen Dragojlovic

In addition to all the problems in BiH politicians just invented a new way to show that they are the only and true “keepers of the national interests” in the different BiH nations.

Their newest “invention” is the “referendum war” and threats about the implementation of this right of the people. On the announcement that RS can hold a referendum about January 9 as a Day of RS, Bosniaks answered with announcement that they will organize a referendum on the separation of Srebrenica from RS and the establishment of a free zone. This kind of answer was not welcomed by RS president Milorad Dodik, who said that this is a violation of RS and BiH constitutions. The separation of Srebrenica, according to Dodik, from the legal-constitutional system of RS is infeasible, because it is contrary to the Dayton constitution, as well as the rights of Serbs in that local community. Dodik called on Serbs in Srebrenica to vote in the referendum on RS Day, which will be held September 25, and to do so peacefully and without tensions. He reiterated the earlier pronounced views on the BiH Constitutional Court, the role of foreign factors in BiH, and donations that came to Srebrenica, but no one knows where they ended up. Dodik emphasized that Srebrenica referendum would not be in accordance with constitutions, but Srebrenica mayor, Camil Durakovic, answered that this is not entirely true.

“Srebrenica, according to the municipal statute, has a right to a referendum on any questions that is of large interest to its citizens”, Durakovic said for media in Srebrenica on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Commission for RS Day held the first session to begin the preparations for referendum. The first task was completed in a short time – the referendum question is determined as: “Do you support the January 9 as the Day of Republika Srpska?”

The second task was a bit harder because it is about the money that the citizens will pay for the implementation of the decision on the referendum. First estimations were that it will cost about 1.5 million euro but, in the end it was estimated at 700 000 euro. Also, as Commission president Sinisa Karan said, the requests for voters’ lists were sent to Central election commission BiH as well as  arequest to Brcko District to hold the referendum at its territory. It’s hard work but there are some parties that just think about the future. In fact, all RS parties support the referendum but with different passion.

“We know the result of this event, no Serb in RS is against January 9 as this holiday. But, it was not necessary to schedule the referendum on September 25, just a week before local elections. In this manner, it looks like part of ruling coalition election campaign”, said on Monday opposition Serb Democratic Party vice president, Ognjen Tadic.

Additional confusion to this situation, in some way, brought the US Embassy in BiH, which condemned the decision on Day RS referendum but still didn’t react on the announcement of the Srebrenica referendum. This has, for now, been interpreted as a sign that this Embassy supports the separation of Srebrenica and opposes the Serb holiday.

Interestingly enough, Croats didn’t make any referendum claims.