The sanctions the US imposed against Bosnian Serb lawmaker Nikola Spiric will only help his party in the upcoming general election, the Chairman of the House of Peoples, Safet Softic, told N1 on Tuesday.
‘We are all a bit surprised, as we have not heard any such announcements before,’ Softic, who is running for state Parliament again in the October 7 general election, told N1.
The US State Department said on Monday that it has banned Bosnian Serb lawmaker Nikola Spiric and members of his immediate family from entering the US over Spiric's alleged ‘involvement in significant corruption.’
Spiric is the Vice-President of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), the party in power in Bosnia’s Serb-dominated semi-autonomous Republika Srpska (RS) entity, and a lawmaker in the House of Representatives.
Spiric told the SRNA news agency on Tuesday that he is ‘proud’ because of the sanctions, which he called ‘a product of the frustration of the outgoing US Ambassador to Bosnia, Maureen Cormack,’ who he said made a ‘desperate move’ ahead of the October general election to help SNSD’s political opponents in the RS.
The leader of Spiric’s party and the President of the RS, Milorad Dodik, was blacklisted by the US as well last year for obstructing the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords which ended the 1992-95 Bosnian war.
‘I’m afraid that this will strengthen Dodik and his party in the upcoming election, as it will be portrayed as a ‘sacrifice for the Serb people’. I think it will in some way help their election results,’ Softic said.