Milorad Dodik to run for Bosnia’s state-level presidency

Milorad Dodik to run for Bosnia’s state-level presidency
By bne IntelliNews February 17, 2018

Milorad Dodik, the controversial president of Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Republika Srpska, will run for the state-level tripartite presidency in elections later this year, local media reported.

The candidacy has provoked mixed reactions in Bosnia as Dodik is known for his secessionist ideas and has not been willing to cooperate with the state-level authorities, claiming that the Bosnian state does not exist. If he wins, this could put Bosnia in a tough international position and once again freeze its European future at a time then the country is preparing to finally send the EU a questionnaire that would allow it to move forward with its membership application.

Dodik’s candidacy comes as no surprise as he has been two-terms president of Republika Srpska and cannot run for a third mandate. However, he again has provoked tensions, saying that if he wins, he will not go to Bosnia’s capital Sarajevo, but will only communicate with the other two presidents via video calls, reported.

Bosnia has a tripartite state-level presidency where each of the three peoples – the Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats – elects its representative. They chair the presidency rotationally and none of the members can act on their own.

Dodik has been claiming for years that the state-level institutions are breaching the constitution in favour of Bosniaks and against Serb entity. He said if he is elected he will make them respect the constitution.

However, the controversial politician has violated the constitution several times, most notably by organising a referendum on the celebration of Republika Srpska’s statehood day and staging big celebrations of the date despite ban from the constitutional court.

This led to sanctions being imposed against him by the US and strong signals from the international community that his behaviour will not be tolerated. As a consequence, Dodik has backed off plans to call two other referendums – on the authority of the state-level judiciary in Republika Srpska and on the entity’s secession from Bosnia.

Dodik’s opponents say that if he wins it will be a disaster. “This is a catastrophe for RS and will put us in even harder international isolation. I don’t know which barbarians and cannibals he will bring here [in Sarajevo],” quoted Bosnia’s state-level Defence Minister Dragan Mektic as saying. Mektic is a member of another Serb party, which is member of the state-level ruling coalition, but is in opposition in Republika Srpska.

On the other hand, opposition parties in Republika Srpska, which are in a coalition called Union for Change (SzP), say they will win the upcoming election and this will finally force Dodik to retire from politics.

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