Opposition in Bosnia’s Republika Srpska seeks no-confidence vote against government

Opposition in Bosnia’s Republika Srpska seeks no-confidence vote against government
By bne IntelliNews May 16, 2017

Three opposition parties in Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Republika Srpska filed a request for a no-confidence motion against the government on May 15, claiming it has led the entity to poor economic situation.

The government will almost certainly survive the vote as the three parties have just 30 MPs in the 83-seat parliament, but it could boost their popularity ahead of the next year’s elections.

The three parties - the Party of Democratic Progress (PDP), the Serb Democratic Party (SDP) and the National Democratic Movement (NDP) - are all members of the Savez za Promjene (SZP) coalition. They have prepared a 200-page explanation on the reasons behind the motion, which was tabled to the parliament on May 15, the PDP said in a statement on its website.

“There is a million of reasons why this government must go. The straw that broke the camel's back is that the government has decided to sell the national resources. We have an information that the sale of [the power company] Elektroprivreda is being prepared,” Dragan Cavic, the leader of SNP, was quoted as saying in another PDP statement on the no-confidence motion.

According to daily Nezavisne Novine, the parliament will set up a committee which will decide whether to accept the motion request within a week and, if accepted, will schedule a parliament session on it.

The initiative comes during difficult times for the ruling Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) of President Milorad Dodik. Its government, led by Dodik’s loyal ally Zeljka Cvijanovic, is facing very strong opposition to its decision to sell the 64.9% state-owned stake in Ljubija mine to Israeli Investment Group Overseas Inc. Global steel giant ArcelorMittal, which  bid for the stake, also objects to the planned sale, and has threatened to sue Bosnia.

Cvijanovic’s government is also in tough situation as the country has not yet received the second tranche under a three-year agreement with the International Monetary Fund. The agreement was put on hold as Bosnia failed to adopt key reforms required by the fund. Without this funding, both entities are facing serious challenges to meet their budget spending.

In Republika Srpska, the government is experiencing difficulties paying unemployment benefits due to lack of cash. Local economists have repeatedly warned that the entity needs to seriously cut spending and increase budget revenues, otherwise it will soon be unable to pay salaries and benefits. The entity’s high indebtedness has also been pointed out as too risky.

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