BANJA LUKA, Bosnia (Reuters) - The opposition in Bosnia’s Serb Republic pressed on Monday for a no-confidence motion against the government, accusing it of incompetence and corruption, with one party leader warning of street protests if the motion was rejected.
Five opposition parties with a combined 31 lawmakers in the 83-seat regional parliament called for a debate about what they said was the government’s mismanagement of the economy and alleged involvement in bribery.
“Our goal is a normal, honest, competent and responsible government that will revive Republika Srpska,” said Branislav Borenovic, who heads one of the five parties, the Party of Democratic Progress (PDP).
The opposition has accused Prime Minister Zeljka Cvijanovic of bribing some lawmakers from other parties while putting together a governing coalition following national elections in 2014. She denies the allegations.
The coalition of her Alliance of Independent Social Democrats and two smaller parties holds a one-seat majority in the legislature.
Bosnia is divided into autonomous regions - the Serb Republic and the Bosniak-Croat Federation - linked by a weak central government.
While the no-confidence motion is unlikely to succeed, political upheavals in either of the regions risk slowing down adoption of laws needed to move Bosnia along the path towards European Union membership.
They might also impede efforts to win badly-needed financial support from international lenders including the International Monetary Fund.
The opposition says the government has also overseen sharp increases in the region’s public debt, which has nearly doubled since 2008 to 6 billion Bosnian marka (2.55 billion pounds), while selling off natural and national resources.
A series of strikes and protests have been staged this year across the Serb Republic over job cuts and unpaid government debts to companies.
“The situation is unbearable and we, as lawmakers, have the duty to stop it,” said Dragan Cavic, the leader of the People’s Democratic Movement (NDP), another of the five opposition parties.
If the government obstructed attempts to call the no-confidence motion, the opposition would organise street protests, he said.
A parliamentary panel must decide whether to approve the debate the opposition has requested, which would be followed by the no-confidence motion.
Cvijanovic has dismissed the initiative as frivolous and groundless, saying the opposition did not have the capacity in parliament to challenge the ruling majority.
Reporting by Gordana Katana, writing by Daria Sito-Sucic; editing by John Stonestreet