Inauguration of Republika Srpska National Assembly president and BiH Presidency member

Inauguration of Republika Srpska National Assembly president and BiH Presidency member

As of today (Monday, November 19) Republika Srpska (RS) has a newly inaugurated National Assembly (RSNA), entity president and Serb member of the BiH Presidency. As such, RS is almost done with regard to the establishment of new institutions in accordance with October General Elections results.

The first session of the RSNA was, to say the least, unusual, since many events made it really interesting. First of all, for the first time in history MPs from the same party suggested two different candidates for the RSNA speaker. In accordance with an agreement within the coalition of Alliance of the Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), Democratic People’s Alliance (DNS) and Socialist Party (SP), the position of the speaker goes to DNS. But, in the last few days this party was split, as the Main Board, on demand of the party leader, Marko Pavić, removed Nedeljko Čubrilović, former RSNA speaker, from deputy party president. Čubrilović protested and did not agree with this decision causing the split between members who are loyal to him and those loyal to Pavić. One group decided to support Čubrilović as RSNA speaker candidate, and other group decided to support Duzško Ivić, the candidate suggested by party leader Pavić.

At a first glance, it seems that the dispute is easy to resolve and that Ivić will be elected on the first session as RSNA speaker. In this case, it was impossible, as Čubrilović is the favorited by SNSD leader and newly elected Serb member of the BiH Presidency, Milorad Dodik. The MPs of his party voted for Čubrilović and he took the seat, leaving the dispute in the party deeper than before the session. The destiny of the party is uncertain, as well as the DNS support to coalition SNSD-DNS-SP. Still is not certain whether SNSD and partners will have a comfortable majority if DNS leaves the coalition.

The second unusual event on this session was the fact that new BiH Presidency member, Milorad Dodik, swore in the front of the National Assembly. No one still knows this means, as he will take an official oath on Tuesday, November 21, in Sarajevo on the official ceremony of the new Presidency inauguration. The law does not forbid this act, but it is the first time that somebody did it. In his speech, Dodik said that he fulfilled the goals for preserving RS and that his policy will not change in the future period.

“That which is not in the interest of Republika Srpska will not be in the interest of BiH either. I will not allow the other two members of the BiH Presidency to stop RS in any way”, Dodik said at the inaugural session.

In the one of the longest inaugural speeches in RS history, Dodik, in front of the MPs, promised that he will work hard to close the Office of the High Representative, expel foreign officials from BiH courts and do everything to strengthen the position of RS in BiH and the region. Also, he said that cooperation with Serbia will be one of the most important priorities and that the river Drina will not be the border for Serbs in BiH.

A third event that could be labelled “unusual” was the speech of newly elected MP from Trebinje, Nebojša Vukanović, who raised his hand two times for discussion and, both times, called several other MPs “thieves” and “traitors”. It will be interesting to see how he will act in the future as the opposition to the ruling coalition.

One of the events which marked this session was also the appearance of the Bosniak MP, Begija Smajić, a teacher from Srebrenica, who wore a hijab, a traditional islamic clothing.

After the session, newly elected Republika Srpska president, Željka Cvijanović, took over the office. After the ceremony, she said that her first day on her new post would be very busy. Her first act will be to suggest SNSD high official, Radovan Višković, for her former position as RS Prime Minister./IBNA