The Bosnian Serb member of the country’s tripartite presidency said Thursday he would initiate procedures to change the Law on Flags so that the flag of the Bosnian Serb region can also be displayed in the Presidency building.
Milorad Dodik has been insisting on the flag of the semi-autonomous Serb-dominated region he comes from, the Republika Srpska (RS) entity, to be displayed in the Presidency building since he took the post he was elected to in October.
The Presidency is composed of three members, representing the three majority ethnic groups in Bosnia, Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs.
Dodik, who has for years been either President or Prime Minister of the RS, has been advocating for the entity he comes from to secede and has openly been saying he dislikes Bosnia and feels that neighbouring Serbia is his homeland.
He put up an RS flag in front of his cabinet, but staff removed it as according to the law, only state symbols can be displayed in common areas in the building.
Dodik also said that he would not take part in any of the session of the Presidency unless the RS flag is in the room but the two other Presidency members, Bosniak Sefik Dzaferovic and Bosnian Croat Zeljko Komsic, told him they would not let him violate the law.
The three Presidents were supposed to meet on Tuesday, but Dodik postponed the meeting, saying that the RS is not represented while the Federation (FBiH), the Bosniak-Croat entity, was.
However, the room was decorated only with two identical Bosnian state flags and Dodik said he views one of them as representing the other entity since its flag looks the same as the state one.
In fact, the flag of the FBiH looks completely different than the state flag and since it was deemed unconstitutional in 2007, FBiH stopped displaying it all together.
The next day, the meeting took place after the staff simply removed one of the Bosnian state flags. Only one Bosnian flag remained in the room.
But Dodik kept nevertheless referring to the removed flag as the flag of the Bosnian-Croat entity.
“I asked for the FBiH flag to be removed, which was done yesterday,” Dodik said on Thursday, but added that he felt it was “a partial solution”.
“I think it would be good if this one and the flag of Republika Srpska are later returned to the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I will work on it,” he said.
This would effectively mean to return the second Bosnian state flags and add the flag of Republika Srpska in the room.
He announced that as soon as the House of Peoples is formed, his Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) will ask for the law to allow the displaying of the RS flag.
“With the removal of the FBiH flag, we made the first step toward equality, although I am not satisfied with everything, nor am I happy about it,” he said.