Bosnia: Government falls after president resigns

Sarajevo, 1 Nov. (AKI) – Bosnia's president Nikola Spiric resigned on Thursday, immediately triggering the downfall of the six-party coalition government.

Spiric handed his resignation to the chairman of the three-man rotating state presidency Zeljko Komsic, saying he saw it as “the only way to contribute to the calming of the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina”.

Spiric, a Serb from the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, was largely responsible for international affairs. The presidency position is rotated every eight months between a Serb, a Bosnian Muslim and a Croat.

Spiric had earlier hinted he might resign in protest over measures imposed by the high representative of the international community Miroslav Lajcak.

Lajcak, a Slovak diplomat with broad arbitrary measures in Bosnia, has reduced the quorum for decision-making in the cabinet and parliament which Serbs, the second biggest ethnic group, fear will enable the Muslim majority to take control.

According to Bosnia’s constitution, Spiric's cabinet will continue in a caretaker role until the crisis is resolved.

The Bosnian Serb Parliament this week rejected Lajcak’s measures, saying they were unconstitutional and contrary to the Dayton peace accord, which ended the 1992-1995 civil war.

But the Peace Implementation Council (PIC), representing western powers and Russia, on Wednesday backed Lajcak, claiming his measures were in harmony with the constitution and the Dayton agreement.

Russia, however, took an opposing stand and expressed a “deep concern” over the situation developing in Bosnia.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov spoke by telephone to US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, on Thursday and discussed the situation in Bosnia.

Bosnia is an independent state under international administraiton. It was divided into two entities with most state powers, a Serb entity Republika Srpska (RS) and a Muslim-Croat federation. But the international community has stripped the entities of most state prerogatives and Bosnian Serbs see Lajcak’s measures as another step in that direction.

RS prime minister Milorad Dodik has vowed that Serb representatives will quit all state institutions if Lajcak’s measures are not withdrawn.

Neighboring Serbia, as a co-signer of the Dayton accord, has backed Dodik and Bosnian Serbs, and provoked vehement protest from Muslim leaders in Sarajevo and a diplomatic note from six western ambassadors to Belgrade.


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