Bosniak leader: Parliament is blocked because of bickering over NATO membership

NEWS 28.05.2019 14:14
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Source: N1 BiH

Bosnia’s Parliament is completely blocked while parliamentarians keep receiving high salaries, and it is “killing the state”, the leader of the main Bosniak party in the country said after scheduled sessions of both houses did not even take place on Tuesday.

“The session was not even held,” said Bakir Izetbegovic, the leader of the Party for Democratic Action (SDA).

He complained that no parliamentary commissions could be formed in both houses.

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The reason behind it, he said, was that the ruling Bosnian Serb party, the Alliance for Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), does not want any decisions to be made until a new government – in Bosnia called the Council of Ministers – is formed after the October 2018 election.

The government has not been formed yet mostly because of the bickering between the winning parties over the country’s intention to join NATO – something Bosnian Serbs now vehemently oppose although the country submitted a request to join.

Bosnia has previously pursued NATO membership but in recent years Bosnian Serb politicians have changed their mind. The next candidate for the prime minister comes from the SNSD which is strongly opposed to membership in the alliance and the Bosniak and Croat presidency members refuse to greenlight him, arguing that he would breach the law if he would not implement previous decisions.

Izetbegovic said that this is not the first time this situation emerged due to the Council of Ministers not being formed, but that nobody ever blocked the work of the State Parliament.

“The Parliament costs taxpayers 63,000 Bosnian Marks daily, we have high salaries and that is the damage that can be seen and shown with numbers. The damage which we are causing with our non-work is far bigger for the reputation of the country and its concrete interests, as hundreds of laws, decisions and agreements are waiting to be adopted and for the commissions to be formed,” he said.

Izetbegovic said the participants “spoke about the detail which everything got stuck on – the Annual National Programme (ANP).” Submitting the ANP is part of the Membership Action Plan (MAP), an essential step for the country's path towards NATO membership.

“A solution here can be found, as submitting the national plans does not imply Bosnia’s membership in NATO, so we expect from the SNSD and their leader to make an effort and find a final solution together with us,” he said.

“Thank God that the possibility of snap elections does not exist, because if it did, we would have them every six months,” he said, “considering today’s relations.”

“It would be worse than this, in this way we are still coerced into working and finding a solution,” he stressed.

Izetbegovic said that “receiving a high salary while killing the country with one’s non-work is illegal.”

He added that “these days” he will likely meet with SNSD leader and Bosnian Presidency Chairman Milorad Dodik and the leader of the main Croat party in the country, Dragan Covic, to discuss the matter.