Bosnian Serb leader says won't back out of referendum

The referendum planned for 25 September on the issue of the Bosnian Serb entity's national holiday, will be held as planned, the President of the Republic of Srpska, Milorad Dodik, said on Friday.

"I call on citizens of the Republic of Srpska to go to the polls for the referendum," Dodik said at a news conference on Friday, a day after Serbia's top officials, including President Tomislav Nikolic and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, said that they did not support the referendum in the Bosnian Serb entity but in no way wished to influence a change of the political positions of legitimately elected entity officials.

Dodik insisted that after the talks in Belgrade on Thursday, when Serbia's authorities expressed opposition to the referendum, he and representatives of Bosnian Serb political parties held consultations and came to the conclusion that the referendum should be held as planned.

In the controversial referendum, residents of the Serb-dominated part of Bosnia and Herzegovina are expected to vote on whether to recognise a ruling by the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina that declared the marking of January 9 as the Serb entity's day as unconstitutional.

As for the absence of support from Belgrade, Dodik said that he was thankful to Serbia's leadership.

"I understand that Serbia's leadership neither supports nor disputes the referendum," he said.

In any case, next year January 9 will be marked "in the most pompous way so far", the Bosnian Serb leader told the press in Banja Luka.

Last update: Fri, 02/09/2016 - 16:27

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