Bosnians protest against corruption as top politicians face graft charges

By bne IntelliNews May 31, 2020

Thousands of Bosnians protested on May 30 in the capital Sarajevo after the prosecution charged three people, including one of the entities’ prime minister, for corruption involving the import of medical ventilators from China that were useless for patients with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Fadil Novalic, the prime minister of the Muslim-Croat Federation, was arrested on May 29 along with Fahrudin Solak, the head of the civil defence body, and Fikret Hodzic, the manager of the fruit processing firm which procured the ventilators. Prosecutors claim they have gathered enough evidence that the three were part of an organised criminal group engaged in money laundering, fraud, embezzlement of state funds and bribery.

The court is yet to decide whether to leave the three accused in detention for 30 days.

Following Friday’s arrests, thousands of Bosnians went out to protest against bad governance, nationalism and corruption. The protest was staged by the opposition Platform for Progress, but members of other opposition parties also joined.

“Enough of silence” was the slogan of the protest, which was broadcasted by N1.

“The parties took everything under their control. I think it is time to change this government. I think it’s time to appoint capable people, not eligible ones,” one of the protesters told N1.

Protesters insisted on amendment of the election law before the local election due to take place in November 2020. The amendments should make it possible to hold a extraordinary election should the parties fail to form a government within six months after the vote.

Political parties in the Federation are yet to form a new government since the last general election in October 2018. The state-level government was formed 14 months after the vote. This has frozen all reforms in the country.

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