The office of Bosnia’s top international official urged on Wednesday cantons in the country’s Bosniak-Croat majority region, the Federation (FBiH), to elect their delegates to the region’s upper house of the parliament so the budget does not have to be adopted by the old lawmakers four months after the election.
But the left-leaning Social Democratic Party (SDP) accused the Office of High Representative Valentin Inzko of using retired people to put pressure on authorities to form the upper house according to a decision of the Central Election Commission (CIK) which the party sees as illegal.
If no budget is adopted, many salaries and all retirements will not be paid. The SDP believes the old parliament can pass the budget until legal issues concerning how the delegates for the new one will be chosen is settled.
A budget adopted by the old lawmakers would “set a dangerous precedent, which could be abused to further delay the formation of authorities in BiH, which is unacceptable,” Inzko’s office said.
The legal issue delaying the formation of the new government concerns the dispute over which census will be applied when delegates are chosen – the one from 1991 or the one from 2013.
The two show a very different population structure as a result of the ethnic cleansing during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia.
Bosnia’s Central Election Commission opted for the new census, but the peace agreement that ended the war says the old one is to be applied until refugees have returned to their pre-war homes. That has not entirely happened and the main Bosniak ethnic-oriented party, the Pary for Democratic Action (SDA), raised the CIK decision with the Constitutional Court.
The verdict will determine the power-sharing, and the SDP would like to see the new parliament formed according to the Constitution.
The OHR’s assessment that decisions made by the outgoing House of Peoples are legally questionable put the payment of pensions into question, the SDP said.
“I don’t want to believe that someone from the international community has chosen a strategy in which they aim to implement an illegal decision by the Central Election Commission with unacceptable social pressure using the pensioners,” said SDP’s MP Aner Zuljevic.