JOINT REACTION OF CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS: Suspension of the democratic will of citizens – absolutely unacceptable

Civil society organizations from Banja Luka, gathered around Reaction Initiative, strongly condemn the announcement of Milorad Dodik, the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and President of Savez nezavisnih socijaldemokrata (SNSD) that the Law on Local Self-Government of the Republika Srpska will be altered in the sense that greater powers will be given to the parliamentary majority in local communities. The announcement came after the president of SNSD expressed his dissatisfaction with the election results concerning the election of the mayor of Banja Luka. The Reaction Initiative believes that the threats of the president of SNSD related to denying economic support to local communities in which his party lost, is absolutely unacceptable way of political communication, characteristic for totalitarian regimes.

Banja Luka, November 26, 2020 – Civil society organizations from Banja Luka, gathered around Reaction Initiative, strongly condemn the announcement of Milorad Dodik, the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and President of Savez nezavisnih socijaldemokrata (SNSD) that the Law on Local Self-Government of the Republika Srpska will be altered in the sense that greater powers will be given to the parliamentary majority in local communities. The announcement came after the president of SNSD expressed his dissatisfaction with the election results concerning the election of the mayor of Banja Luka. The Reaction Initiative believes that the threats of the president of SNSD related to denying economic support to local communities in which his party lost, is absolutely unacceptable way of political communication, characteristic for totalitarian regimes.

The Reaction Initiative notes that, if the Law on Local Self-Government is altered in a way that the powers of the mayor are reduced, it would represent the annulment of the electoral will of the citizens and endangerment of democracy guaranteed by the Constitution. The Constitution of the Republika Srpska guarantees freedom of political organization and action, and prohibits any political organization and action aimed at endangering democracy. The Law on Local Self-Government was passed four years ago, and the Work Program of the Republika Srpska for 2020 does not contain any activities related to the reorganization of this field.

The Reaction Initiative warns that amendments to the Law immediately after the local elections, in terms of changing the powers of local self-government bodies, would represent political revanchism, as well as the fact that the provisions of the law are adjusted to the election result of the ruling party. The constitutional organization of the Republika Srpska is, among other things, based on local self-government. The European Charter of Local Self-Government, ratified by Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2002, guarantees a high degree of autonomy to local authorities, as well as the right of local authorities to regulate and manage significant part of public affairs within certain legal limits. The Charter prescribes that the elected local officials must have working conditions which shall provide free exercise of their functions.

In every democratic society, local authorities tend to be strengthened by greater participation of citizens and forms of direct democracy. The organizations indicated below believe that the systemic laws on local self-government must not be changed quickly, led exclusively by the interests of the ruling party and at the expense of the citizens’ rights and freedoms. It would be particularly dangerous if the amendments to the law were made in an urgent legislative procedure.

The announcement is signed by:

Banjaluka Centre for Human Rights

Citizens’ Association Oštra Nula

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Banja Luka

Citizens’ Association eTrafika.net

Citizens’ Association „Zdravo da ste“

Center for Environment

Centre for Informative Decontamination of Youth Banjaluka

Citizens’ Association „Put pravde“

Centre for Youth Kvart

Association for Independent Creators and Activists „Geto” (UNSA „Geto“)

Transparency International in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Press rls 26.11.2020_e

Source: https://ti-bih.org/zajednicka-reakcija-organizacija-civilnog-drustva-suspendovanje-demokratske-volje-gradjana-apsolutno-neprihvatljivo/?lang=en

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