Sulejman Tihic and Nermina Kapetanovic of the Party of Democratic Action and Hasan Becirovic of the Social Democratic Party, all delegates to the Bosniak caucus in the state-level Bosnian parliament, did not attend the session on Friday, saying they were sick.
Their absence meant that a quorum could not be raised and the session was cancelled.
They were accused of skipping the session on purpose in order to avoid the debate on changes to the law on residence, after mainly Bosniak NGOs and individuals sent emails to parliamentarians calling for a boycott of the session and the law which they claim is discriminatory to post-war returnees to Bosnia’s Serb-led entity Republika Srpska.
The Serb speaker of parliament, Stasa Kosarac, alleged that emailed “threats” had been sent to state officials by the March 1st Coalition, which supports the rights of Bosniaks in Republika Srpska, and said they should be investigated by the Bosnian Intelligence Security Agency.
But the NGO’s chief Emir Ljuljagic said that although it had called on people to “send emails to delegates in the House of Peoples not to be present at the session”, no threats were made.
“The March 1st Coalition did not threaten anyone and we are ready to answer all questions,” Suljagic said.
Kosarac also accused the Party of Democratic Action, SDA, of announcing that it would block the work of the assembly after a meeting with the NGOs which are asking for the residence law changes not to be adopted.
“The party which talks the most about Bosnia and Herzegovina now blocks its institutions,” Kosarac said.
“It is dangerous, what the SDA is doing. Despite this pressure the parliament from the March 1st Coalition, I am saying that they will not cancel or reschedule sessions,” he said.
The March 1st Coalition has warned that if the law on residence is changed as planned, then local police would be allowed to query people’s documents, saying that it also eared discrimination against the Bosniak minority in an entity where Serbs are in power.
After the Friday session was cancelled, the NGO praised the lawmakers for not turning up.
But the President of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, warned that one day Serbs might not turn up for work in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s state institutions, adding that it would be the best for the unified state to disappear as Yugoslavia did when its federal institutions stopped working.