|Dodik and Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic discussed the referendum in Belgrade on Friday. Photo: Beta.|
Dodik said on Friday that the referendum would only be cancelled if the Bosnia’s state-level Constitutional Court reversed its ruling that the entity’s annual statehood celebration, the Day of Republika Srpska on January 9, was unconstitutional.
“If that was done, the whole story [about the referendum] would be pointless, because what would we be deciding on if the Constitutional Court said that decision was not valid and that the Day of Republika Srpska is January 9?” Dodik said.
The referendum planned for September 25 will seek public support for the Day of Republika Srpska to continue to be celebrated on January 9, the day the Serb-dominated entity was formed under the leadership of Radovan Karadzic just before the war broke out in 1992.
It is a challenge to the ruling by the state-level Constitutional Court, which said that the statehood celebration discriminates against non-Serbs living in the entity because it is also an Orthodox Christian holiday.
Bosniak politicians have expressed fears that Dodik’s challenge to the state institution is the prelude to another referendum on secession from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Dodik made his comments after his latest meeting with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade on Friday.
Vucic has declined to give Serbia’s support for the controversial referendum, although he did attend the January 9 celebrations this year, after the Constitutional Court ruled against them.
Dodik said that despite the fact that he could not come to an agreement with Vucic, talks on the referendum would continue when the Serbian premier visits Bosnian town of Doboj on Sunday.
Vucic will be in the town for the opening of the Banja Luka-Doboj highway – which will be named ‘January 9’.
Meanwhile Bosniak politicians in Republika Srpska gathered in Srebrenica on Friday and urged the authorities to call off the planned referendum, saying it is unacceptable for Bosniaks.
“We call on all [non-Serb] citizens of Republika Srpska, especially Bosniaks, not to vote in the referendum, which is anti-constitutional and against Dayton [the peace agreement that ended the war], and which is leading to anarchy,” Ramiz Salkic, the Bosniak vice-president of Republika Srpska, told a press conference after the meeting.