Bosnia’s Security Minister, Fahrudin Radoncic, has announced his resignation on Tuesday, saying the relations within the coalition were irreparable, that he can not tolerate “attacks against the judiciary” and that he disagrees with a coalition partner on how the migrant crisis should be handled.
Radoncic, the leader of the Alliance for a Better Future (SBB), is among the ruling coalition in Bosnia alongside the three main ethnic parties.
“I would like to thank the SDA (Party for Democratic Action) that it made it possible for me and the SBB to be part of that parliamentary majority in the Council of Ministers. Political differences have emerged regarding some strategic internal issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Radoncic said.
The first reason he named was disagreement over the issue of Pakistani migrants in the country.
“I asked for us to solve the migrant crisis through legal deportations and said we have a problem with Pakistan and his excellence (Pakistan’s Ambassador) in Sarajevo,” he said.
Radoncic had earlier accused some countries, including Pakistan, of refusing to cooperate on the deportations of migrants. He said that if this turns out to be the case, he would ask the Council of Ministers to declare the Pakistani Ambassador a persona non grata and send him back to his country.
However, the Bosniak Presidency member sided with the ambassador.
Another reason Radoncic named was “strategic disagreement regarding the ‘ventilator affair’.”
Prosecutors named FBiH Prime Minister, Fadil Novalic, a member of the SDA, a suspect in a controversial procurement of 100 ventilators from China by a company that runs a raspberry farm and that has no history in dealing with medical equipment.
It turned out that the purchased ventilators were overpriced and unfit for treating COVID-19.
The fact that a 10.5 million Bosnian Mark (some 5.3 million Euro) government contract was granted to the raspberry farm sparked outrage in the semi-autonomous Bosnian region.
According to prosecutors, experts found that the ventilators “did not even meet the minimum characteristics necessary for the adequate treatment of patients in intensive care units, among which are COVID-19 patients.”
The SDA reacted to this immediately, saying that Novalic’s detention represents “a continuous attack on Bosniaks” by the state prosecutor.
Radoncic revealed on Monday that he asked for additional police protection for the Chief Prosecutor, Gordana Tadic, because she and her family received threats online.
The SBB leader said he did not want to get into who is to blame for the affair, but argued that he, as security minister, could not accept “nationalist” attacks against Bosnia’s judiciary.
He argued that three prosecutors in the case are Bosniaks and that “turning state prosecutors, police officers and courts into targets” was something he could not tolerate as security minister.
The third reason he stated was that he feels the relations within the coalition will not improve.
“Citizens expect results and the Council of Ministers is practically a hostage of the relations between the SDA, the HDZ and the SNSD,” he said, referring to the three main ethnic parties in Bosnia.
He added that he decided to wait for the pandemic to be over and for his deputy to be named before he announces his resignation.