Revival of tripartite coalition SDS-HDZ-SDA

Spasoje Tusevljak, or just another name for Krajisnik, Izetbegovic, Pelivan

Ivana Drazic

TUE, 13 JUN 2000

Sarajevo, 8 June, 2000 - The candidacy of the anonymous professor from Pale, Spasoje Tusevljak for the chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia & Herzegovina, provoked US ambassador in B&H Thomas Miller to make the following comment: "If I were employing, for example, a chauffeur in the Embassy I would demand that several candidates be interviewed, just imagine what should be done in order to appoint the first man of the executive power in the country. I cannot understand at all the behavior of B&H presidency which nominates a man about whom majority says 'never heard', and most of all nobody knows what platform of the government he is offering". At the same time, high representative of the international community Wolfgang Petrisch sent word to B&H parliamentarians to pay attention how they will vote on, according to him, frivolous and irresponsible candidacy of Tusevljak put up by Radisic, Izetbegovic and Jelavic.

Regardless of the warning and even appeals of those who deserve the merit for interruption of the war in B&H - the international community - that local power-holders act with at least slightly more responsibility towards the citizens of B&H, the vote for Spasoje Tusevljak in state parliament went smoothly. Hands raised high in favour of the new state prime minister revealed to the public the continuity of ten-year long tripartite coalition of the Serb Democratic Party (SDS), the Croat Democratic Community (HDZ) and the Party of Democratic Action (SDA). Their deputies, smiling at each other and crowing at the assembly platform, showed that the flags of these three nationalistic parties symbolically tied together to symbolically mark their unity way back in 1990 have in fact never been untied. The manner in which and the rhetoric with which they supported each other and mocked at the oppositionist Social Democratic Party (SDP) were almost identical to those when ten years ago they elected Jure Pelivan of HDZ to be the state prime minister, Momcilo Krajisnik of SDS to be the chairman of the assembly, and Alija Izetbegovic of SDA to be the president of state presidency. Although the names in the highest institutions of power are partly changed, the characters are essentially the same - the same are the nationalistic projects of disintegration of the country, the same is the conception of rule and the same are the expected results. Indeed, the principle is the same, the rest are just nuances (as a popular song says).

This time the name of a nuance is Tusevljak. Yesterday it was a man called Gligoric whose candidacy was withdrawn by Izetbegovic because he was allegedly afraid that his candidate would not have good cooperation with the international community. (Allegedly, Tusevljak will!?) Before what's-his-name Gligoric, various Silajdzics, Mihajlovics, Bosics fought for the prime minister's post and then like brethren agreed to divide it among themselves which was against the law.

The fact that in five years the council of ministers has not implemented a single law, but that OHR has imposed just a few by force does not interest anyone in the tripartite SDS-HDZ-SDA coalition. On the contrary. According to them, members of the highest state agencies are not elected to do anything but to ensure that power, privileges and money remain "in the family". Because only that is how deputies of these three parties, assisted by the Radicals from RS and Radisic's Socialists, could unanimously support the new prime minister without even asking him to utter a single coherent sentence on how he imagines the future work of the highest executive state agency. The Social Democrats (SDP) shouted in vain that it was scandalous to vote for a prime minister who had not presented his policy statement, who had not explained how he imagined economic reform of this country, who had not even indicated the outlines of the revival of the country, return of refugees or at least recovery of the present more than black social picture of B&H. The vote was carried out after the public order of entity prime minister Edhem Bicakcic to members of SDA to vote in favour of Tusevljak, and after the announcement of members of HDZ that, should OHR insist, they would listen to his policy statement but that they vowed in advance that this would not make them waver in their decision to raise their hands in his favour! By voting against it, members of SDP remained in minority, backed once again by the consterned representatives of international community.

Spasoje Tusevljak addressed the parliamentary assembly thanking for the confidence and promising in a confused manner that the process of implementation of the Dayton accords would from now on "proceed very slowly"? The morning after, the upset High Representative Petrisch summoned members of B&H Presidency to “give them a good talking to” one more time, explaining to them that the international community was tired of the attempts to accelerate the process of implementation of the peace agreement, and that this Tusevljak of theirs was promising just the opposite – to slow down this job! In fact, Tusevljak did promise a policy statement and a platform of the government – but some time in the future. For him it is first necessary that the three ethnic oligarchies reach an agreement on division of ministries and who will take which post. Therefore, first the names and then the job, should there be any. In fact, the names are not that important because ethnic parties have never quarrelled about the offered candidates for any post. Their slogan “don’t you interfere with my, and I will not interfere with your cadre” has operated perfectly for 10 years of their coalition. The problem has always been how to divide what they have – either power, or money, or territory – and all be satisfied. If not, they wage war.

The journalists were trying in vain to learn from Tusevljak’s introductory statement something more about his plans and intentions. His speech could be brought down to nonsensical statements such as “I truly am here at the post at which I am”, and “it is your business to choose, and every choice suits me”. To the question what his next step would be and what questions would be the first he would deal with, Spasoje “wisely” replied: “Next step? Hm, I think there are many steps”, and “I also think that there are a lot of questions”. That is how newspaper analyses toyed with the already published theses that Tusevljak was close to Seselj’s Radicals (for whom he had written the economic platform of the party, it is claimed), that Milosevic’s crony who had lived in Belgrade for years was now installed at the head of the ministerial council, and from its press conference a day after SDP sent word to the citizens of B&H that with the choice of Tusevljak they had come closer to Milosevic but moved further away from Europe.

To what extent Spasoje Tusevljak is ideal for the chairman of the Council of Ministers of B&H, that is, for the man who will make a prosperous country out of this grey state, was explained by the prime minister of the federal government and at the same time a deputy in B&H parliament, Edhem Bicakcic: “From my own sources I know for certain that Tusevljak has not shot at Sarajevo or toured the camps. This is enough, vote for him”, this man of Izetbegovic’s confidence told members of SDA. The next day oppositionists publicly mocked at his criteria for judging a person’s capabilities for prime minister with remarks that they knew for certain that Milosevic had not shot at Sarajevo either, so SDA could have nominated him as well.

It is not difficult to guess what are the reasons for the renewed love affair between SDS, HDZ and SDA. Increasing discontent of the citizens of B&H partly manifested at the local elections, and fear that ones without the others would be ruined in general elections to take place in November, forced them to fall into each other’s arms again. Indeed without mutual support they have offered each other during all this time, their nationalistic projects of homogenisation of their respective ethnic groups, divisions and corruption, would never have had such impact. Unfortunately, nor the consequences.

After completion of this parliamentary farce, Wofgang Petrisch declared that he was now convinced that among SDS, SDA and HDZ there were no problems or disagreements at all, and that this was a political struggle in which these three political concepts were together on one side, and the opposition which wished true prosperity was on the other. One cannot but hope that this is also clear to majority of the Bosnians and Herzegovinians. Because, elections are coming.

Original article