Police shut opposition MPs out of parliament in Bosnia’s Republika Srpska

Police shut opposition MPs out of parliament in Bosnia’s Republika Srpska
Opposition MPs gathered behind the speaker's chair for two days, preventing parliamentary business from continuing.
By Denitsa Koseva in Sofia September 14, 2017

The police in Bosnia & Herzegovina’s smaller entity, Republika Srpska, prevented 30 opposition MPs from entering the plenary hall of the parliament on September 14. The MPs were shut out after they blocked the work of the parliament for two days in protest against the assembly’s refusal to consider a highly critical report on the budget. 

Tensions between opposition and ruling party in Republika Srpska are rising as the entity prepares for general and presidential elections in autumn next year. According to analysts, political tensions will escalate further in the country in the coming months.

The opposition MPs strongly object to the parliament leadership’s decision to remove the Audit Report on the Budget’s Execution from the agenda. The report revealed a debt of around €95mn in the entity’s budget, which has been rejected by the ruling coalition.

In protest against the move, the 30 MPs — members of parties that comprise the Serb Savez za Promjene (SZP) — sat behind the speaker's table for two days, preventing the session from being held, and demanding that the report be put back on the agenda.

After the ruling coalition failed to reach a compromise with the opposition MPs, it resumed work, while the police kept the protesting MPs outside the hall.

“They must go in order to save the parliament’s image. […] As of today nothing in the parliament will be the same. We are determined to stay until the end, to protect Republika Srpska and its parliament in a responsible and dignified way,” Klix.ba quoted the leader of the opposition Party of Democratic Progress (PDP) Branislav Borenovic as saying.

The party issued a statement late on September 13, saying that the ruling Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) led by the entity’s President Milorad Dodik has “brutally attacked the national assembly’s institution, usurped it and has taken it away from the citizens”.

The SZP is a member of the ruling coalition at state level and hopes to get more seats in Republika Srpska in the 2018 elections.

The SNSD also issued a statement accusing the opposition parties of destroying the parliamentary democracy and threatening that this was the first step towards a "Macedonian scenario"; protesters invaded the Macedonian parliament earlier this year. SNSD also claimed that Sarajevo was behind this attack, which it said "aims at destroying the [Republika Srpska]".

 

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