Bosnia and Hercegovina politics: Quick View - RS leader to seek position on BiH's presidency

Content Type
Country Data and Maps
Institution
Economist Intelligence Unit
Abstract
No abstract is available.
Topic
Politics, News Analysis, Forecast, Election watch
Political Geography
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Event

On February 16th Milorad Dodik, the president of Republika Srpska (RS), the Bosnian Serb entity of Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH), announced that in the election expected in October 2018 he would seek to be appointed to the Bosnian Serb position on the BiH presidency-a post that he is likely to win.

Analysis

Mr Dodik's announcement confirms that he intends to remain in control of Bosnian Serb politics. The incumbent, Mladen Ivanic, is eligible to seek a second term as a member of the presidency, but has not yet announced his candidacy and may seek to become president of the RS instead.

Mr Dodik is putting himself forward as a candidate for the Serb position because, having served two terms as president of the RS, he can no longer occupy that role. His party, the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), currently leads the governing coalition in the RS, which we expect to remain in power after the forthcoming election in October. If elected as the Serb member of the BiH presidency, he has vowed not to work from the BiH capital, Sarajevo, but only from the neighbouring town of East Sarajevo, which is located in the RS. He has also stated that he intends to reduce the size of the country's armed forces from 16,000 to 3,500.

Although in the early 2000s Mr Dodik was generally viewed by the international community as a pragmatic, pro-Western reformer, he has spent the past 12 years first as the RS prime minister and then as the entity's president, undermining BiH state institutions and opposing the country's path towards NATO integration. By weakening state institutions, he has also slowed BiH's EU integration. Mr Dodik openly stated that he believed that BiH was an "impossible country", and has made clear his view that the RS would be better off independent from BiH. We expect Mr Dodik to continue opposing efforts to move BiH towards NATO membership. As a member of the presidency, we also expect Mr Dodik to block efforts to strengthen central institutions and to favour granting increased powers to the entities.

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