POLITICS

The Final Phase of ‘Dodikization’ of Republika Srpska?

 

 

Although the general elections took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 7 October 2018, the government at the BiH level was established only on 23 December 2019. Establishment of the BiH Council of Ministers (although still missing one minister) created the prerequisites for a new division of the spoils of the elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina among the three leading parties: Party of Democratic Action (SDA), Alliance of Independent Social-Democrats (SNSD) and the Croatian Democratic Union of BiH (HDZBiH). The government has still not been established at the level of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) because the HDZBiH has made the establishment of the FBiH Government conditional on the adoption of new election law, according to International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) from Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Namely, the HDZ requests, inter alia, creation of a separate election unit for the Croats, i.e. HDZBiH, so that the HDZBiH could ensure that the elected Croat member of the BiH Presidency comes from the HDZBiH. Hence, it is crystal clear that the proposal of the HDZBiH is both anti-European and anti-acquis communautaire of the EU, but also anticivilization as it contributes to further segregation of the BiH society. Instead of removing the existing segregations and harmonizing the legal order with those of modern states, primarily EU members, the HDZBiH’s proposal means going several steps back in an already retrograde BiH society. Furthermore, the resolution of the election legislation for the city of Mostar, in which no local elections have been held since 2008, is still being wittingly ignored. The establishment of the BiH Council of Ministers and the submission of the Program of Reforms of the Armed Forces of BiH, by which Bosnia and Herzegovina progresses towards membership in NATO, have significantly emboldened Milorad Dodik (SNSD) to initiate new political confrontations.

Dodik’s promise: Skoko to be next minister of energy, and Selak president of the Socialist Party (SP)?

By entering the government at the BiH level, Milorad Dodik, President of the SNSD and member of the BiH Presidency, is attempting to subjugate all the processes in Republika Srpska to himself and his own interests. He started by settling the accounts with his coalition partners. Firstly, the Democratic People’s Alliance (DNS) in which he forced the resignation of DNS President Marko Pavić practically “overnight”. He stepped down and Dodik installed Nenad Nešić, a controversial politician loyal to him, as the acting DNS president, although he would have preferred to see Darko Banjac in that position.  Previously, shortly after the 2018 elections, Dodik created a schism in the DNS, when Nedeljko Ćubrilović (DEMOS), a DNS member and representative in the Republika Srpska’s National Assembly, lured a number of DNS members to side with him and established a new political party – DEMOS. Through Bijeljina Mayor Mićo Mićić (SDS), who is also a Vice President of the Serb Democratic Party (SDS), he is trying to deal a final blow to the SDS and Mirko Šarović, SDS President.

The next in line is the Socialist Party (SP), headed by Petar Đokić, Minister of Energy and Mining in the Republika Srpska Government. Dodik has previously divided the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mining into two separate ministries – the Ministry of Energy and Mining and the Ministry of Economy and Entrepreneurship.  Through his political sycophants, Dodik accused Đokić of allegedly making decisions to the detriment of the Socialist Party and damaging Republika Srpska. Only those oblivious of the situation in Republika Srpska could believe such imputations, because Dodik is the absolute master of “life and death” in this BiH entity. It is patently clear that Dodik reigns Republika Srpska, including the energy sector, which he manages through the General Manager of Elektroprivreda Republike Srpske (ERS) /RS Power Supply Company/ Luka Petrović, who is also the SNSD’s General Secretary.

This is an excellent example of how strongly politics is connected with business and crime. It is incomprehensible that the General Secretary of the largest ruling party is simultaneously the General Manager of the largest company in the RS, specifically, the Elektroprivreda RS, as well as the President of the SNSD City Board in Trebinje. It is common knowledge that the concessions are awarded by the Republika Srpska Government at the proposal of the RS Concessions Commission and based on a public announcement, not by Petar Đokić and the Ministry of Energy and Mining. It is also well known that for more than 10 years already Dodik has been trying to amalgamate the SP with the SNSD but has not succeeded because these are two completely different parties with distinctive membership structures.  Dodik has made a miscalculation because, in terms of political program, the Socialist Party is the most stable and consistent party with an exceptionally loyal membership.

Compromised individuals with serious baggage such as Nenad Nešić (DNS), Maksim Skoko (SP) and Goran Selak (SP) were handpicked to execute plans for the takeover of the DNS and SP. Skoko is a years-long executive director at Elektroprivreda RS (ERS), the hotbed of crime and corruption. He is also connected with irregularities and fraud. Goran Selak is the Director of the Tunjice Correctional Institution in which numerous irregularities and illegal activities have occurred. Hence, Skoko and Selak were obviously blackmailed by Milorad Dodik’s regime.  Skoko was promised the position of the RS Minister of Energy and Mining, and following the same scenario Goran Selak would become the President of the Socialist Party. If the plan failed, which is what has actually just happened, they would be transplanted to one of the satellite parties of Dodik’s regime.

Analysts believe that Dodik would not be able to carry out all the above described activities, particularly those related to the takeover of the DNS and the attempts to gain control over the SP and SDS, without having a strong para-intelligence and para-military apparatus, which exist and operate for his needs. The fact that Darko Banjac was not appointed to lead the DNS, and that Goran Selak was not appointed as the head of the Socialist Party is Dodik’s defeat as well. The fact that Mlađen Božović was not appointed Minister of Human Rights in the BiH Council of Ministers is another Dodik’s defeat. The defeat of Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović (HDZ) at the presidential elections in Croatia, which is in no way a good development for Dodik, should also be added to the list.

Luka Petrović – leader of new tycoons?

Upon his appointment at the helm of Elektroprivreda Republike Srpske (ERS) Luka Petrović managed nontransparent procedures contrary to the general policy derived from the laws on public procurement in BiH. He advocates models that are absolutely non-transparent and create room for corruption, that is to say, pursuit of goals based on high-level corruption. A good illustration of that is the increased value of the investment in the Dabar hydro-power plant which, after the arrival of Luka Petrović at the helm of the ERS, grew from BAM 366 million to BAM 466 million.

Over the past couple of years the ERS has managed to destabilize the electrical energy market.  Ever since Luka Petrović joined the top management of the ERS, extremely non-transparent procedures, which are not in line with the common market models and usual practices, have been conducted. This is particularly conspicuous in the area of sale and purchase of electrical energy.

That is why for a number of years already the ERS has not been able to turn profit, which would then be paid to the Republika Srpska budget in the form of dividends. Instead of rationalizing its business operations and cutting down the costs, the ERS is doing just the opposite and thus achieving poor financial results. The ERS is expected to implement the policy issued by the RS Ministry of Energy and Mining and to finally activate a new investment cycle, which has been dormant in the ERD for the last 20 years. The ERS does not implement respective decisions of the RS Government. In fact, the ERS and its associated companies have become alienated centers of power and do not invest sufficiently in development of the ERS as requested by the RS Government. Petrović has managed to position himself as the leader of the new tycoons in Republika Srpska who operates under the baton of Milorad Dodik.

Because of the inertia at the ERS, the environmental license for the Buk Bijela hydro-power plant has been lost due to untimely submission of request for extension of the license.

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