Republika Srpska National Assembly votes in favor of the Serb veto to the BiH Presidency conclusion on Pelješac bridge

Republika Srpska National Assembly votes in favor of the Serb veto to the BiH Presidency conclusion on Pelješac bridge

The Republika Srpska National Assembly (RSNA) confirmed on Thursday late in the evening the Serb member of the BiH Presidency veto to the state Presidency conclusion, in which BiH demands the immediate discontinuation of the construction works on Pelješac bridge, in Croatia. With this RSNA’s decision, the construction of the Komarna – Pelješac Bridge in Croatia has been declared as Republika Srpska national interest.

Perhaps the most comprehensive explanation for this unusual situation came from Republika Srpska president, Željka Cvijanović. After she vigorously supported Dodik’s veto, she added that it is only the instrument for RS to prevent someone from blocking what is important to them in the future.

“I do not care about the Pelješac Bridge, I just do not want someone to block our important projects tomorrow”, Cvijanović said during the session.

The important project for RS is the bridge over river Sava near Gradiška, on the north border with Croatia, which links the highway in RS with the highway in Croatia. There was the danger that if the conclusion of the BiH presidency session with regard to the Pelješac Bridge was adopted, works would also stop on the constructio of the Gradiška Bridge.

After RSNA’s decision, the disputed BiH Presidency decision will be annulled and will not enter into force.

Sixty deputies voted in favour of the decision, while six were against and six were abstained from voting. This means a two-thirds parliamentary majority adopted the decision, which was a condition for disputed Presidency’s conclusion not to come into force. Not less than 56 out of 83 votes of Srpska Parliament deputies were required for a two-thirds majority.

Along with the decision, the conclusions by the caucuses in the National Assembly /SNSD, DNS, SP, PDP, DEMOS, NDP, US/ were also adopted with 60 votes in favour of it. The conclusions obligate RS representatives in the BiH joint institutions to insist on resolving all open issues both between Republika Srpska and BiH and between Croatia and BiH, especially the issues related to amending the decision on the adoption of the National Programme for Implementation of Radioactive Waste Management Strategy by the Croatian Government on Trgovska Gora, on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the RS part of border.

The conclusions also require the final determination of the international border between BiH and Croatia on the Una River in the area of Novi Grad, Kostajnica and Kozarska Dubica. It is also insisted that the Croatian Government complies with the obligations related to the construction of a bridge on the Sava River near Gradiška, and that the National Assembly demands that the Serb representatives at all levels in the BiH institutions vote aginst a partial resolution of the border issues with Serbia and Croatia.

It is interesting that the RSNA discussion triggered a dispute between the Party of Democratic Progress (PDP) MPs on the session. While two young MPs were bitter in their reactions, saying that there is no RS “national interest” in this case but only Dodik’s private interest, older members of PDP caucus voted in favour of the veto. It is obvious that PDP needs to change something in its approach if they want to remain an important opposition force in RSNA.

The BiH Constitution determines that a member of the Presidency who disagrees with the Presidency’s decision may declare it destructive to the vital interest of an entity for the territory from where he was elected, within three days after its adoption. The veto must be submitted for confirmation to the assembly in the entity where the Presidency member was elected. If that appeal is confirmed with two-thirds majority within 10 days after it is filed, the disputed decision of the Presidency will not come in effect./ibna