by Zoran ZUZA
If the forcing of Ivanic to the exposed political ground is a stupid move, it is even more stupid to do the same to the High Representative of the international community, Wolfgang Petritsch, who, according to Reporter's sources, is not at all excited by the fact that he will have to arbitrate about the agreement in whose creation he participated personally, trying as hard as possible to make sure that the agreement is as toothless as Bosniaks and Croats would like it to be. Since even Petritsch is not entirely sure why the national interests of these two nations were pulled as an argument at the last moment, he is doing the only thing he can at this point. He is playing for time and trying to figure out what the true intentions of Lagumdzija, who only recently stated that the agreement about special relations between Srpska and FR Yugoslavia reminded him of an empty sandwich, are.
Who is next? Cutting the branches they sit on, the leaders of the Alliance could bring down the whole tree. Reporter's sources close to the SDP claim that a simple trade is at work. The agreement about special relations between Srpska nad FRY needs to be brought to the Bosnian Parliament in order to make a "take or leave" offer to Ivanic: we shall support the agreement in return for your support for the law that transforms the Council of Ministers into the Government of Bosnia-Hercegovina.
Late this month, the chair of the Council of Ministers, Bozidar Matic, should be replaced in the regular rotation at this position by a Bosniak. Apart from consistent attempts to reduce the jurisdiction of the entities, this rotation goes against the Alliance's interests for at least two reasons. First, with Matic at helm of the Council of Ministers, the leaders of the HDZ who talk about endangered status of Bosnian Croats have no arguments for their accusations. Secondly, there are no guarantees that the two strongest parties within the Alliance, the SDP and the Party for BH could easily agree on who should replace Matic, the minister of foreign affairs Zlatko Lagumdzija or the Minister for European Integration Azra Hadiahmetovic. The SDP, the party with the largest number of seats in the Bosnian Parliament, believes that it has the right to keep the office of the chair of the Council of Ministers, but the leader of the Party for BH does not agree. Reporter's sources claim that Haris Silajdzic has been bothered for a while that Lagumdzija is generally taken to be the true leader of the Alliance. On the other hand, the SDP cannot allow that Silajdzic, besides Beriz Belkic in the Bosnian presidency, gets another key office reserved for a representative of the Bosniak nation.
However, Ivanic has clearly stated that his party will not support the Alliance's proposal of the law About the Government of Bosnia-Hercegovina. He only needs one reason: if Matic becomes a Prime Minister, Ivanic would become the chair of the council of ministers of Srpska, with realistic chances that the SDS introduces rotation for that office.
Since the earlier warning of the Prime Minister of Srpska that because of the demands that Bosnian entities be abolished he would stop supporting the Alliance in the Parliament of Bosnia-Hercegovina, Ivanic decided to send a much clearer threat through his representatives in the House of nation of Bosnia-Hercegovina, Nikola Spiric.
"Political joke": Spiric's call for a vote of no confidence in the Council of Ministers so far does not have a realistic chances of success, but it regardless awakened hopes of the SDS, the SDA, and even almost totally written off HDZ, especially after it was reported that the call was supported by the representative of the Party for BH Munib Jusufovic. However, it turned out that Jusufovic wanted to warn the Alliance bosses that they should protect him from the indictment issued against him by the Brcko District prosecutor because of embezzlement of about KM1.7 million. When that ploy failed, Jusufovic explained to Reporter's journalist that his support for Spiric's initiative was "a political joke" whose goal was, according to Jusufovic, to demonstrate who and how many of Serb representatives in the parliament are against Bosnia-Hercegovina!
The OHR is still not prepared to directly confront these games with fire. They do not want to comment the call for a no-confidence vote in the Council of Ministers because they believe that it will most likely not reach the floor of the House of Representatives of the Bosnian Parliament, where such decisions are made. On the other hand they in principle do support the Alliance's idea to transform the Council of Ministers into a Government of Bosnia-Hercegovina and they view that idea as "an attempt of the local politicians to make the government institutions more efficient".
"Any changes must be in accordance with the Constitution and must respect the procedure," Oleg Milisic, the OHR spokesperson says for Reporter. He, however, also mentions the decision of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia-Hercegovina of August 14, 2000, according to which the current Law About the Council of Ministers is not constitutional precisely because of the rotation at the position of the chair of the Council.
Petritsch's decision regarding the agreement about special relations between Srpska and FRY is eagerly expected. It is still not known whether the High Representative will contradict himself, but the experience indicates that Serbs in Bosnia-Hercegovina usually ended up on the loosing end whenever they believed that justice was on their side.
If he suffers another blow (such as the outcome of the arbitration for Dobrinja 1 and 4), Ivanic will probably be forced to respond forcefully and really stop supporting the Alliance for Changes, which would bring that group of parties into the position of the former coalition Sloga [Concord, ruled as a minority government in Srpska].
The next in line would most likely be the applause of the nationalist parties!?