Serb entity leader announces coalition with Croat party

BANJA LUKA/SARAJEVO -- RS President Milorad Dodik has announced he would propose a coalition to the Croat HDZ BiH party, in the state institutions of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Milorad Dodik (Tanjug, file)
Milorad Dodik (Tanjug, file)

Dodik is the leader of Bosnia's Serb entity, the Serb Republic (RS); the country has a second entity, the Muslim (Bosniak)-Croat Federation (FBiH).

Bosnian Presidency member Bakir IzetbegoviŠ, who represents Bosniaks, said that the Croats will have to accept the reality that Bosnia will not have a third entity.

IzetbegoviŠ, who until recently served as chairman of the Presidency, said that Bosniaks would have to accept the reality that "the RS will not be abolished," while Serbs must accept that "Bosnia-Herzegovina will not be abolished."

"Within these realities we will all, living with the two entities and a strong group of other citizens, have to find some middle-of-the-road solution," IzetbegoviŠ told the BHRT broadcaster.

According to him, "Croat representative in the Presidency Dragan ĂoviŠ will have to reduce his demands to realistic boundaries and to something that is also acceptable to Bosniaks." That, he explained, is a mechanism that will allow Croats to choose whom they want, "but not with help of a drawn map or a constituency that would lead to segregation of someone."

On the other hand, Dodik, who heads the SNSD party, said there was "no doubt" that his party and ╚oviŠ's HDZ BiH will make up the authorities on the state level, and added that he will meet with ╚oviŠ in Mostar to discuss their cooperation in the common institutions.

As he said, the two strongest Serb and Croat parties will afterwards declare a coalition.

Later on Thursday, it was announced that Dodik and ╚oviŠ agreed that their parties will represent "the basis of the authorities on the Bosnia-Herzegovina level," and will also cooperate on the entity and cantonal level.

Commenting on IzetbegoviŠ's statement that he would "rather see opposition parties from the RS at the negotiating table instead of the SNSD," Dodik said earlier that "IzetbegoviŠ's leanings are not surprising," and that he believed the Bosniak representative when he said "the SNSD does not suit him."

But, as Dodik noted, the SNSD is the only relevant factor from the RS because it will have power "on the republic level," which will properly affirm the policy of the RS in the common institutions. "Those who won in the election should form the authorities, and the choice of partners with whom it is possible to do the job is not a matter of desire, but of political pragmatism," explained Dodik.

He added that the candidate to put together a new RS government was known, and announced that "a partnership to create authorities on the RS level" would be announced on Friday with presidents of his party's coalition partners, Marko PaviŠ of the DNS, and Petar đokiŠ of the SP.