Although the new prime minister has plans to improve things, she may meet resistance from the opposition.
By Mladen Dragojlovic for Southeast European Times in Banja Luka -- 18/03/13
New RS Prime Minister Zeljka Cvijanovic said her government will focus on the people. [Mladen Dragojlovic/SETimes]
The new government in Republika Srpska, led by Prime Minister Zeljka Cvijanovic and the ruling Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, has pledged to be a "people's government" with priorities that include easing the economic situation and strengthening the fight against corruption.
"This government will … be in constant contact and service to the citizens of RS addressing specific matters. [We] are absolutely aware that the situation is difficult … we will work flexibly and to demonstrate the speed and creativity to reach their goals," Cvijanovic, who took over the prime minister post Friday (March 15th), told The Voice of Srpska.
One of the first actions the government will take is to garner political will against corruption. This is necessary, Cvijanovic said, in order to increase the efficiency of institutions. She also plans to create an anti-corruption team.
"We will mobilise. But if you ask me whether the prime minister should go and arrest people, I'll tell you no. Institutions should work to protect society and the individual," she said.
On the economic front, Cvijanovic said that her priorities are to help the business community and improve conditions for business operations.
In an interview with Belgrade weekly magazine Nin, Cvijanovic said that it is essential to begin with strategic infrastructure projects.
"Parallel with these projects, we must make a lot of short-term movements which will give results in short period of time. We will revise all subsidies and incentives, reform business environment and determine the situation in public enterprises," Cvijanovic said.
Mladen Bosic, leader of the biggest opposition Serb Democratic Party, told SETimes that his party also expects the government to remove burdens for enterprises in order to foster investments in the entity.
"That is something what government can do immediately if they want. If they don't make serious reforms and provide conditions for foreign investments, it will be a catastrophe for RS," Bosic said.
But many said that Cvijanovic's aspirations will be difficult to carry out due to lack of support from the opposition.
According to Igor Crnadak, Opposition Party of Democratic Progress secretary-general, the new government will not succeed because it has support from the same parties as the former administration.
"It will bring an identical disability, corruption and problems that the RS has already had," Crnadak said.
Some citizens are also sceptical.
"The government should be better than previous one, but I don’t think it will be. Previous government burdened small entrepreneurs with a lot of taxes, abolished incentives and made a lot of things which made our work harder," Vesna Veselinovic, the owner of a salon in Banja Luka, told SETimes.