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Bosnia

Capital Sarajevo
Time Zone CET (GMT+1)
Country Code 387
Mobile Codes 61,62,63
ccTLD .ba
Currency Bosnian Convertible Mark (1EUR = 1,96 BAM)
Land Area 51,129 sq km
Population 4 million
Language Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian
Major Religion Islam, Roman Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity

In Bosnia, a Government at Last

By Lana Pasic

On December 28, 2011, fourteen months after elections held in October 2010, the political parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina reached an agreement regarding the formation of a government. Representatives of six main political parties distributed the Ministerial and Deputy seats according to the ethnic quota, paving the way for the appointments in the Council of Ministers.

According to the agreement, the prime minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina – this time, a representative of the ethnic Croats – will be Vjekoslav Bevanda, an economists and banker. Certainly, Bosnia does need economic and financial experts. During his interview for the Bosnian daily Avaz, Mr Bevanda stated that economic recovery and EU integration are his main priorities.

However, one cannot but be sceptical, taking into consideration the fact that Mr Bevanda (just like the previous prime minister, Nikola Spiric, also an economics expert) does not speak any foreign language. This fact might make wonder as to how seriously the country is taking its commitment to EU integration. Furthermore, as the previous Finance Minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was facing bankruptcy, Mr Bevanda’s track record might not be very encouraging.

In spite of his firm commitment to these two goals, the prime minister-to-be also noted that he has faith in his colleagues at the Council of Ministers, and hopes that they will work together towards attaining these priorities. He also added that the results do not depend only on him, but on the agreement of all parties, due to the nature of Bosnia’s institutional make-up. After his nomination, the Central Electoral Commission had confirmed that Mr Bevanda fulfils the conditions for the appointment, meaning that the process of appointment is almost complete.

It is important to add that, although the ‘national’ distribution for the ministerial posts had been agreed upon, the candidates have not been named yet, and it is up to the winning political parties to nominate their choices of the candidates. In most cases, those have already been selected by the parties and their announcements will be made during this month. Of the nine ministerial posts, four were allocated to Bosniaks, three to Serbs and two to Croats. Of four Bosniak seats, one will be allocated to the representative of one of the 17 Bosnian minorities (Sarajevo-x 2011).

Along with the distribution of government posts, the leading parties also agreed upon the text for the Legislation on the census and budget. The leaders of the main political parties were highly optimistic after the agreement was announced. The president of SNSD, Milorad Dodik, stated that the most important part of this long-delayed agreement has been the fact that compromise prevailed and that there was no foreign intervention in the decision-making process, though everyone agreed that neither of the parties got all that they had hoped for.

In spite of the 14 months of failed negotiations, the politicians referred to this agreement as a “happy ending.” The leader of the winning Croatian Democratic Party, Božo Ljubić believes that in this way, the politicians in question “showed the people that they are serious responsible leaders” (Sarajevo-x 2011).

The EU Special Representative and high representative of the international community in BiH, Valentin Inzko, said that 2011 was a ‘lost year’ for the country, in terms of economic, legal and political regulations and progress. Due to the failures of the past year, 2012 can only be better. However, he emphasized that there are many tasks which should be priorities on the agenda of the new government- fiscal policies, economy, EU integration and NATO membership, according to Source.ba.

After reaching a non-coerced compromise, Bosnian politicians’ confidence and hopefulness are running high. However, with the EU leaders announcing the economic crisis on the continent, and Bosnians depending highly on European companies for employment, the politicians need to do something more than hope, in order to cope with the crisis. Formation of the government is the first step, but it remains to be seen whether the ‘leading six’ can take things further.

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