Bosnia's governing Social Democratic Party, SDP, has submitted a proposal to parliament to change the state-level electoral law and enable early elections; the current election law does not foresee that possibility.
The proposal made on Tuesday followed seven days of protests in numerous towns, mostly in the mainly Bosniak Federation entity. The prime ministers of four cantons in the Federation have since resigned, as has a senior police official.
Milorad Dodik, President of Bosnia's Serb-dominated entity, Republika Srpska, RS, said his party, the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, SNSD, was coming round to the idea of "early" but not "extraordinary" elections.
“Extraordinary elections would imply that the RS is in a state of emergency,” Dodik said, adding: “If the opposition wants early elections, we are ready.”
Dodik has insisted that the unrest in Bosnia over the past few days has nothing to do with Republika Srpska and is possibly aimed at destabilizing the entity.
On February 11, he said his party would not accept changes to the electoral law, as they would undermine the right of the entities to call elections on their own territory.
“This is a hoax though which the SDP is trying to save its own skin as well as change the Dayton structures of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” he said.
“It is of great significance that the citizens of the RS did not fall for provocations from the Federation,” Dodik added.
However, Mladen Bosic, head of the Serbian Democratic Party, SDS, the largest opposition party in Republika Srpska – albeit in power at state-level – said the entity government should resign and open the way for early elections.
“It is possible that when this [unrest] is over in the Federation, something similar will start in the Republika Srpska, so we call on Milorad Dodik and on all institutions to resolve this situation and prevent such events from happening in Republika Srpska,” Bosic said.
Leading Bosnian Croat politicians have denounced the protests, saying they are directed against Croat institutions in the country.
Dragan Covic, President of the largest Croat party in Bosnia, the HDZ BiH, said social discontent had been used as a cover to carry out "brutal attacks" on state institutions in mainly Croat areas.
“Whoever dares to come to Mostar to burn a Croat flag will suffer the consequences regardless of who sent them and regardless of the number of their supporters,” Covic said.
Meanwhile, street protests have continued in several towns in the Federation.
In Tuzla and Sarajevo, so-called plenums of citizens have been trying to take the politicial initiative, following the resignation of their cantonal governments.
Autor: Elvira M. Jukic