Bosnian Serb Leader Moves to Rein in Serb Opponents

Bosnian Serb lawmakers are to consider changes to the criminal code of Bosnia's mainly Serb Republika Srpska introducing punishment for individuals who fail to comply with decisions of the entity's parliament, a move analysts warned was designed to rein in Serb officials at the state level.

Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of Bosnia's tripartite presidency and leader of the Republika Srpska's ruling Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, SNSD, said the changes would take effect as of January 1, meaning they would likely have to pass through emergency procedure.

The SNSD and its coalition partners enjoy a comfortable majority in the Republika Srpska parliament.

Tanja Topic, a Banja Luka-based political analyst, said the SNSD wanted to restrict the actions of Serb MPs and officials at the Bosnian state level in Sarajevo, where its opponents in the Republika Srpska parliament are simultaneously part of the state-level ruling coalition, at least until a new government is formed.

"The law would serve to prevent alternative thinking, different views, and ultimately opposition," Topic told BIRN.

"In this way, the RS authorities want to control the opinion of the RS officials in Bosnian state institutions."

Dodik told media on Monday: "Republika Srpska representatives in Sarajevo cannot vote on their own. They are elected in the Republika Srpska and have a responsibility to their electoral base. If they think something is not in the interests of the Republika Srpska, then let them seek the opinion of Republika Srpska institutions."

A source in the Republika Srpska government said consideration was being given to possible prison sentences for non-compliance with the decisions of the assembly, though it was not clear whether this...

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