Sparks in RS ruling coalition

Sparks in RS ruling coalition

The attempt of two parties in RS ruling coalition, Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) and Socialist Party (SP), to sell to the state part of stocks in Ljubija iron ore mine despite the resistance of the third coalition member party Democratic People’s Alliance (DNS), will obviously have deeper impact than it seemed in the first few days.

The majority of MPs in RS National Assembly recently refused to support this transaction between the entity Government and Israeli Investment Group. It was planned that the package of stocks would change owner for more than 90 million BAM (45 million Euro). But the owner of the rest of the stocks is global giant in this industry, namely the ArcelorMittal group, which was against this transaction. Also against it were employees in ArcelorMittal as well as the employees in Zenica Steel Plant, which, in a large percentage, depends on the Ljubija and other mines in that region. The nearest city, Prijedor, is the HQ of the DNS and employees demanded from MPs which are from this city to vote against the decision. And they refused to support the transaction despite the explanation of RS Government that this sale will improve the exploitation of the mine and, at the same time, open several hundred new working places.

As such, the Government plan was rejected but RS Minister of Energy and Mining, who is also the Socialist Party president, Petar Djokic, said that RS, Prijedor and Ljubija mine lost an important investor. For several days there was no reactions and it seemed that everything was forgotten. Then DNS leader, Marko Pavic, called an press conference on Thursday to say that he expects Djokic to resign.

“Instead of the minister thinking about resigning, because he got no support of RS NA, he continues to criticize his political or other opponents. I think that at this moment this is terrible”, said Pavic at a press conference in Prijedor.

Pavic, as he said, believed that, after the decision of the RS NA, there is nothing to discuss because it is the decision issued by the highest authority. He added that it was the reason that he didn’t comment on this case but that “some ministers are on a daily basis repeating that they were right and the Assembly is not”.

“So, those who are elected by the Assembly, now dare to say that the same Assembly is not right”, Pavic said.

He noted that the former RS Minister of Energy and Mining, Zeljko Kovacevic, several years ago warned of possible adverse effects of the sale of the state capital in Ljubija to Israel Investment Group, but that minister Djokic left out that part in his speech at RS NA session dedicated to this matter.

Pavic added that Djokic’s statements after the RS NA session and the decision are the additional reason for his resignation. A short time after media reports about Pavic demand reached public, Djokic sent the written statement as his reaction.

“DNS didn’t give me the mandate of Minister and I am not obliged to give it back to this party. The mandate management is in the hands of RS PM, Zeljka Cvijanovic. I expect that we, as coalition partners, will solve this problems in the meeting which will be soon scheduled”, Djokic said.

He emphasized that the proposal for Ljubija mine was well prepared but RS NA didn’t support it, but that he doesn’t feel any responsibility for that.

On the sparks between coalition partners reacted also the leader of the third party (SNSD), RS president Milorad Dodik, who said to the media in Banja Luka that there are no problems in global coalition plan but that the sparks mean that “the atmosphere between Pavic and Djokic is a bit ‘more electrically charged'”, but that it will be over in few days.

These sparks are coming in the eve of RS NA special session about parliamentary support to actual entity Government. Opposition demanded this session hoping that DNS will support their demand and that together they will force Zeljka Cvijanovic to resign. Pavic didn’t want to answer precisely on the question about support to opposition demand.

“The opposition is trying to force the Government to resign for the last three years. DNS will have a clear political stance on this matter before special session”, Pavic said.

However, Dodik said that he has already discussed this with Pavic and that DNS will not give any kind of support to the opposition demand and that session will end very fast. He believes that the parliamentary majority will vote against discussion on the opposition demand and that the session will end before it actual begins.

In fact, this is the time of fast decisions and in short time both sides must gather enough MP votes. Many things are still unclear, but time is running out. The session is scheduled for May 31./IBNA