RS govt to ignore move to limit powers

BANJA LUKA, Bosnia, Sep 13, 2000 -- (Reuters) The Western-backed caretaker government of Bosnia's Serb republic on Tuesday said it would continue operating to full capacity despite a move by parliament to reduce its powers.

The parliament passed a no-confidence vote last Thursday in the cabinet of Prime Minister Milorad Dodik.

The assembly, controlled by Bosnian Serb nationalists, also voted to increase its control of the government's day-to-day work - preventing it from adopting decrees and proposing legislation without first consulting parliament.

Protesting against the parliamentary move, Dodik last week said the government would stop functioning and asked the Constitutional Court to rule on the legality of the move.

However, his government said on Tuesday it "continues to work in the full legal capacity based on the Constitution and that it is not limited in any way."

Western envoy Wolfgang Petritsch, who oversees Bosnia's peace process following the 1992-95 war, denounced the parliament's move as "highly irresponsible".

"These actions destabilize the RS (Republika Srpska, the Serb republic) and damage the interests of its citizens...the RS is facing very tough economic questions which need speedy resolutions," Petritsch's spokesman, Chris Bird, told reporters.

The Serb republic and the Muslim-Croat federation make up post-war Bosnia. General elections are due on November 11.

Petritsch's office said last week the government crisis would benefit Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic who it said has had a damaging role in the Serb republic.

Milosevic has supported hard-liners loyal to former Bosnian Serb leader and fugitive war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic during and after the 43-month Bosnian conflict.

Dodik ousted a hard-line government in early 1998 and has since been the West's favorite because of economic reforms he has undertaken and his fierce opposition to Milosevic.

Original article