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Oct 19, 2007 18:09 EEST
SARAJEVO (Bosnia and Herzegovina), October 19 (SeeNews) – The top international peace envoy in Bosnia on Friday introduced measures to streamline the country’s cumbersome central institutions in a bid to overcome political deadlocks such as that over police reform last week.
High Representative Miroslav Lajcak made changes to the law on Bosnia’s central government, which would make blocking its sessions and decisions by political parties more difficult and told the two houses of the central parliament to vote on similar changes to the parliament law by December 1.
He also suggested that parties forming the ruling coalition in the central government establish a formal forum, a coordination council, where they can discuss important reforms and voice their opinions.
He warned if the changes were not adopted he would impose them.
“Because of the impossibility of reaching agreements and decisions, the work of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s institutions has been blocked. Decisions are not being taken, and laws are not being passed […] The measures will bring state institutions closer to a state of functionality originally suggested by the Dayton [Peace Agreement] and allow this country to go forward, despite the current political atmosphere,” Lajcak told reporters in Sarajevo.
War-divided Bosnia consists of a Muslim-Croat Federation and a Serb Republic, each having its own parliament and government. It also has a weaker central cabinet and parliament. The European Union has said strong central institutions are a must for Bosnia’s future integration into the bloc.
Last week, Bosnian politicians failed to agree on a EU-brokered police reform plan that would open the way for the country to formally establish closer ties with it. Lajcak said this should not and could not be in the way of reforming Bosnia and increasing the functionality of its institutions.
The changes to the central Council of Ministers law will allow meetings to take place with a simple majority of the ministers and only one representative of each of the constitutive people of Bosnia – Bosnian Muslims, Serbs and Croats - present. The previous requirement was for at least two representatives.
Lajcak told MPs from both houses of Bosnia’s central parliament they must adopt legal changes that would, among other things, prevent the current practice that non-appearance of some deputies automatically means a “No” vote and remove a requirement that at least 10 deputies from the Federation and five from the Serb Republic be present in order for a session to take place.
“If these changes are not adopted by December 1 in a way that would solve this problem, I will have no choice but to use my powers and impose those changes,” Lajcak said.
According to the Dayton agreement, Bosnia’s High Representatives are endowed with the so-called Bonn powers that allow them to impose legislation and sack officials if they are deemed detrimental to the peace process in the country.
Lajcak also urged political leaders from the central government's ruling coalition to establish a mechanism which would include all coalition partners and institutional representatives and contribute to better coordination in implementing reforms.
“This council for coordination should be a way for political leaders in Bosnia to regain the citizens’ trust again,” he said.
“This is only a beginning of a process, a positive process, which will lead to the better functionality of this state, a process which is of vital interest for Bosnian citizens,” he added.
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