Wave of protests in RS still without major result

Wave of protests in RS still without major result

RS opposition parties organized on Monday evening the first “Assembly of the citizens” to point out the “catastrophic situation in RS caused by the criminal activities of Milorad Dodik and his regime’s allies”. The event, which took place in the Banski Dvor in Banja Luka, gathered about 400 citizens who came to hear what opposition leaders had to say them. But there was nothing new to hear since politicians just repeated the same information and data which they published earlier.

Nepotism, inappropriate spending of budget funds, criminal in area of tenders and public procurement, decreased number of newborns and the mass departure of young citizens on to find work abroad are just some of the sins for which opposition blames the ruling coalition. According to the opposition, their wish is, in direct contact with the citizens, to explain why their MPs blocked the last session of the RS National Assembly, and to share their views on the political and financial situation in this entity. This is, as they said, only the first in a series of this events. Opposition leaders announced that they will organize the same events in every municipality in RS in the next year.

The first topic at the “Assembly of citizens” was detailed information on the Audit Report on Budget Execution for the last year. This report was withdrawn from the parliamentary debate, which was the main reason that the opposition blocked the work of the entity parliament. Also, the Report is the reason that the Chief Auditor of RS, Duško Snjegota, was forced to resign.

“This is a democratic right we use. Direct contact with citizens. And we want to say what is so painful for the RS authorities in the Audit Report of the RS Auditing Service, what is the state of the economy and the social situation in RS today and how we see the future of the RS, what are the solutions necessary to make RS as a place where people’s lives will be much better than they are now. So the essence of our conversation with citizens is the discussion on economic, social, demographic issues, but also about the state of corruption and general crime”, emphasized the leader of the Party of Democratic Progress (PDP), Branislav Borenovic.

But, this is not the only problem which Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) and its partners in RS ruling coalition have been facing in the last month and, as it seems, will face until general elections next year. There is also the permanent protest of the “REstart RS”, an organization which brings all generations under the leadership of  Stefan Blagic, president, and Drasko Stanivukovic, opposition MP in Banja Luka City Assembly. The trigger for their protest was the information that RS Minister of education, Dane Malesevic, ordered the purchase of the new Audi worth 120 000 BAM (about € 60 000) at a time when a large number of schools in RS doesn’t have elementary conditions for the normal education process. The initial reason for the protest was later covered by the same reasons RS opposition parties highlighted in their activities.

Because of the last “REstart RS” protest, Banja Luka Police Department fines Blagic with 500 BAM (€ 250), for being irresponsible, since, as they said, he didn’t “secure the gathering in appropriate manner”. Stanivukovic received a fine of 1 500 BAM (€ 750) because he, according to the police, during the protest encouraged the participant to attack the RS Government building. Stanivukovic refused the charges since, as he stated, nobody at the protest was calling any kind of violence.

In the number of protest against the ruling coalition it is necessary to count the second, eight day long, RS Railway workers’ hunger strike, which again ended after a meeting with RS president Milorad Dodik. This strike was triggered by, as they said, the bad situation in the company and financial debts to employees.

For now, these protests have not triggered any major changes, but it is obvious that the ruling coalition is not just standing aside watching what is going on. The biggest result was achieved by “REstart RS”, since several high ranking officials announced that they will not purchase expensive cars for their offices but will opt for cheaper ones, but equally comfortable, versions. Analysts consider the possibility that RS Government will begin arresting the managers of the biggest public companies in RS under allegations for embezzlement of money, illegal assigning jobs to their acquaintances and many other criminal acts. The truth is that political life in next year in RS will be very interesting./ΙΒΝΑ