eNewsletter: The Government and Parliament of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina January 1 - December 31, 2013
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POLITICIANS WERE MAINLY OCCUPIED WITH THEMSELVES THROUGHOUT 2013. The year began with the Decision on vote of no confidence in the government; it continued with political conflicts, blockades and scandals in which the Parliament also played a role; and it ended in fierce conflicts within "the new parliamentary majority" and its break-up during the last session of the House of Representatives 2013. Thereby, the period of relative stability saved the Parliament from a complete disaster in terms of its results; however, it still faced a coalition break-up in the second half of the year.

FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2007, THE PARLIAMENT WORKED WITHOUT A WORK PROGRAM. AND IT ALSO ENTERED 2014 WITHOUT ITS WORK PROGRAM. By working without an adopted Work program, the Parliament violated its own Rules of Procedures (The Rules of Procedures of the House of Representatives, articles 87-95 and the Rules of Procedures of the House of People, articles 80-85 precisely define this obligation). The violations continued in a form of a failure to adopt the Work program for 2014, and the Parliament ended up entering its final year without a detailed plan of its activities.

ALMOST ONE HALF OF THE TOTAL NUMBER OF SESSIONS OF BOTH HOUSES WERE EXTRAORDINARY SESSIONS. Of the 18 sessions of the House of Representatives, 8 of them were regular, 8 of them were extraordinary; there was one special and one thematic session, while the House of People held 16 sessions over the same period of time, with an equal number of regular and extraordinary sessions. Extraordinariness was unfortunately politically motivated and there was no wish to invest efforts in finding solutions to some of the top priority problems of the FBiH citizens and to improve the quality of their lives.

FOLLOWING THE TOTAL BLOCKADE EARLY IN THE YEAR, CATASTROPHIC RESULTS WERE PREVENTED DUE TO A HIGHER EFFICIENCY THAT THE PARLIAMENT SHOWED IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR. The largest number of points, measures and within the framework of the same laws was considered and realized during the second half of 2013. After approving no laws in the first quarter of 2013, and only 8 laws in the second quarter, the both houses increased their dynamics in terms of the realization of points and measures during the third and fourth quarter. It resulted in the Parliament's approving of 34 laws by the end of 2013, 19 of which were changes and amendments and 15 were new laws, that is "basic laws".

AN UNSUALLY LARGE NUMBER OF LAWS FAILED IN THE FBIH PARLAIMENT IN 2013. Of the 84 laws considered in the Parliament in 2013, 14 were rejected -- 4 by the House of Representatives, and as many as 10 by the House of People, despite being previously adopted by the House of Representatives. The House of People has an enormous influence on the overall results of the FBiH Parliament, given the fact that, due to inadequate definition of its scope of work (not aligned with the idea of national interest) and it practically functions as a parallel House of Representatives, with additional authorizations.  And, in the situation with different parliamentary majority in the Houses (or even caucuses of people) it has the ability to block, fail or postpone the adoption of measures, which have nothing to do with vital national interest, except that blocking Parliament's work becomes a tool for accomplishing some objectives proclaimed as vital national interest. Which, in any case, should be a one of the topics of the discussion on constitutional changes in the FBiH.

THE PARLIAMENT REGISTERED A 30 PERCENT DROP IN THE REALIZATION OF LAWS IN 2013 COMPARED TO 2012. IT IS THE SAME WITH THE RESULTS ACHIEVED IN YEAR 3 OF THE PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT. The FBiH Parliament approved 49 laws in 2012, while only 34 laws in 2013, hence 15 laws less. If a comparison is made between the results achieved in 2013 and those achieved in year 3 of the previous government, 2009, we will reach the same data, 15 laws less in 2013.

MANY PROBLEMS ARE BURDENING THE RALTIONSHIP BETWEEN THE EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE GOVERNMENT OF THE FBIH. Many of them, indicatively, have nothing to do with the fact that the current executive government was not a reflection of parliamentary majority over the observed period of time, but these problems were noticeable during the previous years as well. The Parliament realizes a relatively small number of laws sent by the government. Of the 84 laws considered in 2013, only 34 laws were approved - less than the number of laws "carried over" from the previous year. In terms of MPs' questions and initiatives, there are constant objections from the MPs regarding government's failure to provide full and timely answers. The government has been ignoring the Parliament's requests for submission of materials for thematic sessions on some of the important social issues as well as the requests for presence at Parliament's sessions.

NOT ALL ARE THE SAME – THERE IS A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF MPS WITH HIGH-LEVEL ENGAGEMENT; HOWEVER, A MUCH LARGER NUMBER OF MPS IS TOTALLY INACTIVE. During the observed time period, the Parliament considered 7 laws sent in procedure by MPs. 2 of them got approved, 1 got rejected, 1 is in procedure and 3 got withdrawn. A total of 408 questions and initiatives were asked/launched during the 8 sessions of the House of Representatives. However, as many as 22 MPs did not ask any questions. In the House of People, MPs asked and launched 129 questions and initiatives during the 8 sessions in 2013. 20 of 58 delegates did not ask or launch any questions or initiatives. The House of Representatives discussed 204 points of the agenda, while the House of People discussed 129 points. 13 MPs of the House of Representatives and 9 delegates of the House of People did not take part in discussions on any of the agenda points in 2013.

ONLY 5 OUT OF 98 MPS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND ONLY 13 OUT OF 58 DELEGATES IN THE HOUSE OF PEOPLE DECIDED NOT TO BE ON PARLIAMENT'S PAYROLL.  Monthly income of the professionally engaged representatives and delegates, in addition to their salaries ranging from 2,500 to 3,500 KM includes a compensation for attending parliamentary sessions in amount of 630 KM, "meal allowance", separate living allowance in an average amount of 500 KM, accommodation allowance in the amount of 150 KM per month. With all this, delegates and representatives are entitled to a compensation for transportation costs, and 4 weekend visits to their families. MPs in the House of Representatives spent 16 hours per month in sessions in 2013, and the MPs in the House of People less than 7 hours.

THERE IS NO SERIOUS COMMITMENT ON THE PART OF POLITICAL ACTORS TO THE PROCESS OF THE FBIH CONSTITUTUONAL CHANGES. Unanimous acceptance of the conclusion that accepts the initiative to launch a reform of the BIH Constitution, in line with the recommendations provided by local expert group under the auspices of the US, did not meet a necessary determination and commitment. Submission of opinions of political parties was delayed, due to which the Constitutional commission prolonged the deadlines set. After that, based on the received proposals, the commission drew a pre-draft of the FBIH Constitution, which, according to the announcement of the chairman of the House of Representatives of the FBIH Parliament should have been considered during a thematic session in December, after the adoption of the Budget for 2014, which was its priority. However, even after completion of the budgeting process, the session did not take place until the end of the year.



THE EXECUTIVE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA CONTINUES TO FUNCTION ON THE PRINCIPLE OF WORLD CURIOSITY. Reconciliation between the composition of the executive government and the will of parliamentary majority did not happen until the end of 2013.  Despite the vote of no confidence in the government issued by the FBIH Parliament in early 2013, the government is still composed of the individuals from political parties that do not belong to the newly established parliamentary majority, and of the ministers, who, in the meantime, even stepped out of the parties that had primarily delegated them into government. This inability to change the government led to the dissolution of a so called "new parliamentary majority". And those who were willing to violate the fundamental postulates of parliamentary democracy or the Constitution for the purpose of staying in power, as expected these days, refuse to comply with the demands coming from the public protests. All this, in fact, speaks about the need for urgent constitutional changes, which will put an end to infinite possibilities of blocking the system and enable normal removability of elected representatives and functionality of the state, in the interest of its citizens.

EXTRAORDINARINESS AND UREGENCY OF SESSIONS OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DOMINATED IN 2013; HOWEVER, THEY WERE NOT THERE IN TERMS OF RESOLVING THE TOP PRIORITY PROBLEMS OF THE CITIZENS. After convening no regular sessions in the second quarter of the year, the decision making slowly returned to the framework of regular session. On the other hand, despite an increase in the overall number of the measures realized at the sessions in 2013, the number of the government measures that could influence the solutions of the top citizens' problems, such as unemployment, poverty, poor healthcare and social policy, corruption, poor position of young people, pensioners, etc, is still rather small. From 2011 to 2013, the results accomplished in the field of policies of crucial importance for citizens' problems are worse than in the first 3 years after the 2006 general elections. This particularly refers to 2013 during which the executive government realized almost 2,5 times less measures of such kind than in the year 3 of the previous government. This year's result of 36 significant policies is the lowest in the last seven years.

THE RESULT OF A POOR GOVERNMENT'S FOCUS IS MOST VISIBLE IN ONE OF THE TOP PRIORITY AREAS - EMPLOYMENT.  The number of the unemployed in the Federation reached 391.942 persons in December 2013. Since the forming of the FBIH government, the number increased by as many as 24.687 persons - since then and by the end of 2013, over 800 new persons were registered every month on the Public Employment Service list.

THE GOVERNMENT OF FBIH ADOPTED ITS WORK PROGRAM FOR 2013 ON NOVEMBER 28, 2013. Hence, one month until the end of the year, which is a totally illogical and ridiculous move by the institution. The Rules of Procedure and the Provision on the process of strategic planning, annual planning and reporting in Federal ministries have been seriously violated this way. The Provision was violated in the segment where it is required that the ministries to create and publicize three-year strategic plans for the time period that would follow the Framework budget documents. Since the Provision took effect, not one ministry publicized these three-year strategic work plans for the previous years, nor is currently working on developing such strategy for the current time period.  The situation remained the same in terms of the publication of annual work plans and reports, except for the Ministry of Culture and Sport, which published all of its 2008-2013 plans and reports on its web site. It is interesting that on the same day when a "retroactive work program for 2013" was adopted, the governemnt also adopted the Work program for 2014, which is the first time in the last 8 years that the government's work program was defined on time.

THE RESULTS OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FBIH IN 2013 ARE WORSE THAN THE ONES FROM THE PREVIOUS YEAR AND FAR WORSE THAN THE RESULTS OF THE PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT. In 2013, the Government registered a drastic drop (by as much as one fourth) in a number of hours spent in sessions, followed by a drop in a number of measures realized, compared to last year. If we compare the number of the determined laws, both during the current and the previous term, it is evident that in 2013 there was a drop by 15 laws in comparison to 2012, and a drop by 12 laws in comparison to the third year of the previous government. The problem is even more serious if we pay attention to the "faith" of the government's laws in the Parliament. Of 74 laws that the Government endorsed in 2013, the Parliament approved only 16. This is by far the worst result in the last 7 years. And it is the most evident consequence of the disagreement between the government's composition and the will of parliamentary majority.

THE GOVERNMENT IS PERSISTENT IN DISRESPECTING THE PARLIAMENT. In 2013, the government continued to ignore many remarks and warnings from the Parliament, by not taking part in the sessions of the Parliament and failing to answer questions from the MPs within a legal deadline. Also, the government failed to prepare different materials for thematic sessions initiated and convened by the Parliament - out of the three initiated sessions in 2011 (some rather important topics such as agriculture, healthcare and employment), the materials were prepared only for the thematic session on agriculture, with a two-year delay - in October 2013.  

THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FBIH MUST PAY BACK ALMOST 1 BILLION KM IN DIFFERENT DEBTS IN 2014. BORROWING FROM THE IMF CONTINUES. The FBIH Budget for 2014 is higher by 6,5 percent compared to 2013. The deficit stands at 655 million KM, and the amount of over 976 million KM of internal and external debts represent a record high that needs to be paid back in 2014. The amount of this new debt for 2014 is 299 million KM and is mainly intended to continue to cover government's overspending. In order to co-finance active employment policies, the Government planned to allocate 19 million KM in 2014 (hence, the thirtieth part of the IMF loan) - and the irony is that this is by far the largest planned amount for this purpose in the entity with almost 400.000 unemployed people that is unstoppably growing.