Bosnian Serb Blocs Prepare for Assembly Duel

Bosnian Serb Blocs Prepare for Assembly Duel

By Katarina Panic

The political scene in Republika Srpska is tensing up as two opposing blocs prepare for a showdown in the assembly that will reveal which of the two has the upper hand.


Accusations and allegations are flying around the mainly Serbian entity in Bosnia as the two main political blocs shape up for a potentially decisive duel in the entity assembly.


The struggle, which has been steadily escalating, will test which of the two blocs now controls the almost evenly divided assembly ahead of the 2016 local elections.


A Bosnian Serb official told BIRN on Monday that a showdown was on the cards at the extraordinary session of the assembly expected to be called in coming weeks.


The setting for this clash has been in place since the 2014 general elections, when the ruling bloc led by the Milorad Dodik's Alliance of Independent Democrats, SNSD, narrowly maintained control over the entity government.


The opposition bloc, led by the Serbian Democratic Party, SDS, joined Bosniak and Croat parties meanwhile in establishing a government at the state level.


This political imbalance has been creating tensions ever since. For months the opposition has been attempting to topple the entity government and establish a new ruling coalition while the ruling bloc has been trying to replace the opposition in the coalition at state level.


Over the weekend, the ruling SNSD accused the opposition of betraying Serbian interests in state institutions and pledged to hold an extraordinary assembly session to assess their work.


The opposition responded in the kind, calling the ruling bloc corrupt and ineffective, and demanding that the assembly assess the Republika Srpska government's own work and corruption scandals.


Experts say the spats are largely aimed at distracting the public as well as politically positioning the two blocs ahead of the 2016 local elections.


"There is nothing constructive taking place in the RS besides screaming and spitting between political opponents," Banja Luka-based blogger and analyst Srdjan Puhalo told BIRN.


"These kinds of political clashes... draw attention away from important questions which citizens are facing," local expert Tanja Topic said.   


"We have already entered the campaign for the upcoming local elections and it's obvious in how it will play out: who is the bigger patriot and who is a good or bad Serb - not about questions that are crucial for local communities," she added.


Few people in the Republika Srpska seem that interested in the developing political drama.


"I do not trust either of the two blocks," Mirjana, 74, a pensioner from Prijedor said. "They can get into a fist fight for all I care. I only care about getting my pension on time and not having it delayed for 10 or 15 days, lik some others have experienced," she added.




Balkan Insight






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