If an initiative to change the name of Bosnia’s Republika Srpska entity is launched, a response to that will be adding up ‘the western Serbia’ next to the name of this Serb-dominated entity, said Milorad Dodik, the Serb representative in Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency, speaking for Serbian media.
Bosniak strongest political party, the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) announced last month it would challenge the name of Republika Srpska, the Serb-majority entity, before the Constitutional Court, arguing that its name is discriminatory against other people living on its territory.
The announcement sparked fierce reactions among the Serb leadership who called the initiative unconstitutional, referring to the State Constitution which says the country consists of two entities, the Federation (FBiH) and the Republika Srpska (RS).
“If they launch that initiative we will launch an initiative to add a hyphen next to the Republika Srpska and ‘western Serbia’ next to it. Not to change the name but to amend it, if they want it to be amended. If they want it, we will go to the end. A synonym for Republika Srpska can only be western Serbia,” said Dodik speaking for Belgrade-based Politika daily.
Bosnia consists of two semi-autonomous entities, RS which is dominated by the Serbs and FBIH shared by the Bosniaks and the Croats. Besides having their own governments, each entity and three major ethnic groups are represented in the state institutions as well.
President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic said in response to Dodik’s statement that he took it as a message that nobody has the right to change the entity’s name.
“I have not read the interview but I understand that Mr Dodik wants to say that nobody can or has the right to change the Republika Srpska’s name,” Vucic told reporters in Munich, where he is attending the Security Conference.
Republika Srpska is a constitutional category and not something that was made up, according to Vucic.
“I am sure that Republika Srpska was and that Republika Srpska will be,” he added.