HDZ boycotts Federation, state institutions
The nationalist Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) decided Wednesday to boycott all Federation and BiH government institutions, following the BiH Presidency's nomination of a moderate candidate to lead the country's central government: the Council of Ministers.
Three months after the November general elections, Bosnia is still without a government because of the whims of the HDZ. The three-man Presidency had first nominated HDZ member Martin Raguž to the Council's chair position, because he was a candidate that all three members of the Presidency (one Croat, one Muslim and one Serb) could agree on. But the BiH House of Representatives, which is now ruled by the ten-party Alliance for Changes, voted down Raguž last week and demanded the Presidency nominate a candidate that the House was likely to confirm. The international community pressured the Presidency to do the same.
So on Tuesday, Serb Presidency member Živko Radišić and Muslim member Halid Genjac nominated Alliance candidate Božidar Matić. Matić, 63, is the head of the Sarajevo Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a member of the Social Democratic Party, which leads the Alliance. He appeared to be a candidate that had the Presidency's support and would have been confirmed by the House.
But Croat Presidency member Ante Jelavić walked out of the Presidency session that day, citing his constitutional right to disagree with a Presidency decision on the basis that his people's (ie Bosnian Croats') vital interests were being endangered. His party, the HDZ, announced that they would meet in the main Hercegovinian town of Mostar to decide their next move. They decided to boycott. Jelavić said after the meeting that he was ready to enter into a dialogue with the international community.
Office of the High Representative (OHR) spokesperson Oleg Milišić pointed out that "the OHR has already had a long dialogue with the HDZ, beginning with the 25 January meeting of High Representative Wolfgang Petritsch and Jelavić," Oslobođenje reported. He said the meetings usually go well but that often one thing is officially promised at the meetings and something else is done the next day. He cited one example as being Jelavić's promise to implement the election results after the Constitutional Court decision on 2 February.
As for Jelavić saying he was using his constitutional right to abstain from a Presidency decision to protect Croats' vital interests, Milišić stressed that under the Constitution this only applies to actual Presidency decisions, not to nominations like this one.
"It looks strange that Jelavić thinks it endangers the interests of the Croat people in BiH to nominate a Croat for the Council of Ministers chair," Milišić was quoted in Oslobođenje as saying. "It's typical of nationalist parties to hold rights and truths only for their own followers and members of the ethnic group that they represent. Is the HDZ suggesting that only the 150,000 Bosnian Croats, the ones who voted for the HDZ, have the right to speak for all Croats, including the hundreds of thousands of others [who didn't vote HDZ]?"
OSCE spokesperson Luke Zahner said that by boycotting institutions, the HDZ would ensure that its own voters would have no voice at all in the government. The party currently has 25 seats in the Federation's 140-seat parliament and five seats out of 42 in the Bosnian parliament.
"However, the HDZ refuses to participate in the institutions that they need in order to settle this question. Their opinions simply will not be heard, to the detriment of all those who voted for them in November," Zahner said.
Vets baffled by Bosnian beast
In a case that seems more like an episode of the X Files than actual fact in the Balkans, former soccer player and trainer Damir Bradarac hit an animal with his car early Wednesday near the centre of Zenica, but when he got out of the car to look at what he had hit, it was like nothing he had ever seen before.
"It's about 21 inches long. On the ends of its legs it has amphibious palms with five fingers, very similar to humans, unusually long legs which veterinarians believe can serve for jumping, a long neck, keen eyes, a flat head," read the description in Jutarnje Novine Friday. The picture on the front page showed the strange creature's razory teeth to advantage as well.
Bradarac took the animal's body to veterinarians in Zenica, who were confused and told him nothing like it had ever been seen in the area. Zenica citizens were also concerned, because a "carnivorous animal" had been found in the centre of town. A Jutarnje team volunteered to take the corpse to Dr Rizah Avdić at the Veterinarian-Anatomy Department in Sarajevo. "When we came to the Veterinary Department, the porter at the entrance already knew we were coming. He only asked, 'Is that it?'" wrote one of the reporters.
Dr Avdić told the paper that the animal was male and that it could possibly be related to domesticated cats. "I can't say now what exactly it does, but I can say that I saw a similar animal before and that they live in our forests," he said. "Everything will be known tomorrow after the autopsy."
As for Bradarac, the discoverer of the animal, which he dubbed "the little dinosaur," he said he was curious to find out what it was. "I want to find out the truth... [so] that we know what kind of monsters are roaming our streets," he said. "I can't understand why the [respective] authorised institutions are not interested in this case."
Macedonian president visits Sarajevo
Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski visited Sarajevo Friday and his foreign minister signed an agreement with BiH Foreign Affairs Minister Jadranko Prlić on protecting investments. Trajkovski also welcomed Bosnian authorities to next week's Southeast European summit in Skopje.
Beth Kampschror, 16 February 2001
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