The President of Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity, Milorad Dodik, who is running for the Serb position in the three-member state Presidency in the October election, said he will surely win and when he does, he will only look after the interests of Republika Srpska, which he said should be a separate state.
Since the end of the 1992-95 war, Bosnia is divided in two semi-autonomous entities, one dominated by Serbs and the other shared by Bosniaks and Croats.
Dodik is for years advocating the Bosnia’s Serb’s wartime goal - Republika Srpska’s secession from Bosnia. He has continuously obstructed any local or international effort to unite the country.
“Republika Srpska is a state according to all international qualifications,” he told reporters in Belgrade on Wednesday.
He added that there were many countries with the same characteristics but that the international community “just doesn’t want to give us international recognition.”
“But, that does not mean that we should give up,” he said.
Dodik is currently the President in Bosnia’s Serb dominated semi-autonomous RS entity but is running for the state level, where the Presidency is composed of a Bosniak, a Serb and a Croat member. Voters from the RS elect the Serb Presidency member, while voters from the other entity, which is shared by Bosniaks and Croats, elect the Bosniak and Croat members.
Dodik made the statement after a meeting with the dean of the Faculty of Political Sciences, Dragan Simic, where he is also holding a lecture for the students.
Former Yugoslavia was an illusion and Bosnia should not become a new one for the Serb people, he said.
He claimed Bosnia and Herzegovina was not a country anyway as it is just “put together and only has international recognition and an international framework”. The internal sovereignty lies with the entities, he said.
According to the RS President, Bosnia’s government, Council of Ministers, is an assisting body to the state Presidency, which he said was the only executive body at the state level.
“That was done within the concept that Bosnia should respect the internal structure, but all those years after the Dayton Agreement (which stopped the war in 1995) there was the attempt to change this internal structure and impose the competencies of joint institutions of Bosnia over those of the entities, which is not in the spirit of the Dayton Agreement or in the way it is written,” he said.
He said that the reason for this was the arrogance of the international community, which is trying to change the practice through the appointed High Representatives, who are the top officials in Bosnia overseeing the implementation of the Dayton Agreement.
“And then they are surprised about why the situation in Bosnia is so unclear. You have one thing written in the constitutions and in practice you have something that is not in accordance with the Constitution,” he said.
His role was to try and fix the anomalies between Bosnia’s Constitution and the way it is being implemented in the RS’s favour, he stated.
“Nobody should expect anything else from me,” he said.
Dodik said that Serbs in Republika Srpska will elect him and that he has no obligations toward the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, except for the obligation to maintain peace.
“A narrative that has been imposed by the High Representative, that Bosnia and Herzegovina is superior to the entities will not work,” he said.
“That’s not going to happen. I am sending them the message that they should not count on something like that. And I will surely win,” he said.