The inaction of Bosnia’s parliament costs taxpayers at least 60,000 Bosnian Marks daily, the leader of the strongest Bosniak party in the country, Bakir Izetbegovic, told N1 on Thursday, urging MP’s to start working and arguing that their work should not be connected to the deadlock in forming the Council of Ministers.
“We will once again ask for the legislative branch of government to be completed and for the work at the state level to begin. Every day that this government body doesn’t work costs taxpayers 60,000 Bosnian Marks,” said Bakir Izetbegovic, the leader of the Party for Democratic Action (SDA), adding that this is only the figure which can be directly determined but that the overall cost is likely much higher.
Bosnia has not formed a government - officially called the Council of Ministers - since the October 2018 election because the Bosniak and Croat members of the tripartite Presidency refuse to vote for the new Chairman.
The new head of government is supposed to come from the Bosnian Serb Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), but the party opposes the country’s path toward NATO membership and announced it would not allow the next step in this direction to be made.
The next step would be sending the Annual National Programme (ANP) to the alliance and the Bosniak and Croat Presidency members insist on it.
Bosnian Serb leadership previously agreed to the country joining NATO and signed off on Bosnia fulfilling its obligations, including sending the ANP to Brussels. They have meanwhile, however, changed their mind.
The issue has also resulted in an overall stagnation in the parliament, as sessions keep getting postponed.
“I think that we are suffering huge damage, people leaving the country because of this,” he said, adding that not doing one’s job in state bodies is illegal according to Bosnian law.
“I urge MP’s to not connect those two things. The appointment of a new Council of Ministers should not be tied to the work of the legislative body,” he stressed.
Izetbegovic also argued that the stance of the main Bosnian Croat party in the country, the Croat Democratic Union (HDZ BiH) which is one of the winners of the 2018 General Election, on Bosnia’s path toward NATO membership is unclear.
"We would like to know whether or not the HDZ BiH is in favour of the NATO path and the activation of the Membership Action Plan,” he said.
Officials from the HDZ BiH have constantly been saying that NATO membership should be one of Bosnia’s priorities, but also that it should not be a condition for forming the government.
The SNSD and the HDZ BiH have also entered an alliance in 2018.
HDZ BiH leader Dragan Covic said on Wednesday that “the Bosniak side always finds a way to do nothing.”
"The Bosniak side, if he was referring to the SDA, set no condition (for forming the government) this time unlike the other two sides. Our only condition is that the Constitution, the rule of law, the laws and strategies passed previously are respected,” Izetbegovic said.
The HDZ BiH and the SNSD have their own conditions and impede and obstruct things, he argued.