Report from the 11th Session of the Tuzla Plenum of Citizens, 15 March 2014

This report was published on the Tuzla Canton Plenum Facebook page on 16 March 2014: https://www.facebook.com/plenumTK/posts/1478493809032794

Press Release from the 11th Public Working Session of the Plenum of Citizens of Tuzla Canton

The 11th public working session of the Plenum of Citizens of Tuzla Canton was held on Saturday 15 March 2014; about 500 citizens participated.

Suggestions for the agenda and session moderators, which were submitted at the preparatory meeting of the coordinators of all of the Plenum working groups, were adopted by an overwhelming majority of votes.

The first item on the agenda was interplenum cooperation and work on the demands for the parliament and governing bodies of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH). Vedad Pašić introduced the item and invited all those interested to get involved in the work of the newly formed Plenum of Citizens of Tuzla Canton Team for Interplenum Cooperation by sending an e-mail to interplenum@plenumtk.org.

The Plenum was informed that the OSCE agreed to act as an independent observer in all future negotiations of the Plenum and its working groups with top officials of the Tuzla Canton government.

Then followed a presentation about the initiative of the Plenum of Citizens of Sarajevo to define demands to be made of the governing bodies of the FBiH. The initial demands are being considered by all plenums active in the FBiH, and they have already been adopted by plenums in Zenica, Mostar, and Bugojno. [Translator’s note: These demands also appear on the Sarajevo Plenum site at http://plenumsa.org/zahtjevi-plenuma-gradana-i-gradanki-sarajeva-prema-institucijama-federacije-bosne-i-hercegovine/]

The demands adopted by these plenums are as follows:

  1. Resignation of the Government of the Federation.
  2. Permanent suspension of criminal procedures against all participants in the demonstrations in the FBiH from 5 February onwards.
  3. Temporary suspension of all privatization procedures, including the sale of public property. An audit of privatizations completed to date and the processing of those responsible.
  4. Eliminating benefits in institutions and organs of public administration at all levels, including the benefit of receiving a salary after leaving public office (i.e., “golden parachute”) and compensation for being separated from one’s family and for accommodations when working in a location other than the place of residence.
  5. Limiting the maximum salaries of elected officials, executive officers and their advisers to an amount equal to two times the average salary in the FBiH.
  6. Eliminating monthly compensation for serving as a member of a board of directors, commission, or other management body of a public company that has been founded by an institution of the government of the FBiH from the federal budget.
  7. Introduction of progressive tax rates so that taxpayers would pay taxes at different rates depending on amount of income received or profits realized.
  8. Launching an initiative in the Parliament of BiH for changing the law on value added tax (VAT), the goal being to introduce different VAT rates, starting with a zero-tax rate for basic grocery items.
  9. Immediate harmonization of pensions with the rise in average salary in the FBiH, except where it would result in a lowering of pensions, and joining work tenure for those who have met the conditions for receiving a pension.
  10. Temporary suspension of the borrowing of money from international and domestic banks and resources for the purpose of granting credit to fund public spending in the territory of the FBiH.

It was announced that the Plenum of Citizens of Tuzla Canton will consider these demands at the next session in order to join this interplenum initiative.

The second item on the agenda was a public debate about the candidate for chief executive of the Tuzla Canton Government. Lejla Brkić, coordinator of the Legal Team of the Plenum of Citizens of Tuzla Canton, introduced the item, reminding attendees that two of the demands submitted by the Plenum regarding nominating the candidate have not been met. These are the demand to organize a public debate about the candidates for chief executive and the demand to broadcast the debate on RTV TK (Radio-Television Tuzla Canton) as a public service.

After the introduction, she turned the floor over to Bahrija Umihanić, candidate for chief executive of the Tuzla Canton Government, who briefly introduced himself to the Plenum and presented an overview of his plan of action for the coming period. Among other things, the candidate invited citizens to participate in the election of the new government and announced that the list of all candidates would be published on Monday 17 March 2014.

Dozens of citizens actively participated in the discussion, addressing the Plenum and the candidate, posing questions, commenting and giving suggestions, and expressing dissatisfaction with the process of selecting the candidate and with the fact that the Assembly of the Tuzla Canton did not meet the demands of the Plenum.

No [new] demands were introduced at the 11th public working session of the Plenum of Citizens of Tuzla Canton. All citizens of the Tuzla Canton are invited to get involved in the work of the Plenum and to support and help with the organization of public working sessions by volunteering.

UPDATE 18 March 2014:

The list of candidates was published and is available through the Tuzlanski.ba website. The text on the linked page reads as follows:

Today a list of all candidates for cabinet ministers was published on the official website of the Ministry of Commerce and Development of the Tuzla Canton Government.

The document comprises 13 pages and specific suggestions for each individual candidate.

The list is available here (Direct link to the PDF).

UPDATE 19 March 2014:

The 12th public working session of the Plenum of Citizens of Tuzla Canton will be held on Friday 21 March at the Ismet Mujezinović Studio at 6 pm.

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