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Bosnia gets government after 14-month impasse

December 24, 2019

Parliament has approved Prime Minister Zoran Tegeltija's new Cabinet after lengthy political wrangling in the Balkan country. The EU welcomed the government's formation as a step towards European integration.

Zoran Tegeltija in Sarajevo
Image: picture-alliance/AA/S. Yordamovic

Bosnian lawmakers on Monday approved the formation of a new central government after 14 months of deadlock, raising hopes the country will tackle reforms needed to become a candidate for EU membership. 

The European Union said the formation of a government "opens the way for renewed commitment of the political parties to allow for progress on the EU path of the country." Brussels currently considers the ethnically divided Balkan country a "potential candidate" to one day enter the 28-member bloc. 

Read moreMy Europe: Balkan countries joining the EU — unwanted or unwilling?

Disagreements among Bosnia's tripartite presidency of an Orthodox Serb, Catholic Croat and Muslim Bosniak over NATO integration had held up the formation of a government since elections in October 2018.

After a compromise between the ethnic groups was reached in November, parliament agreed upon Bosnian Serb economist Zoran Tegeltija as prime minister. The 58-year-old had previously served as finance minister in Bosnia's autonomous Serb Republic.

Read more'Little Schengen' — Western Balkan nations agree to boost ties for EU bid

On Monday, lawmakers took the significant step of approving the prime minister's proposed Cabinet team with 29 votes in the 42-seat parliament.

Long way to EU candidate status

Bosnia's political system was put in place following the 1990s Yugoslav wars to ensure each community has representation, but its complex power sharing arrangements and weak central government often leads to gridlock.  

The country has been slow in making progress with the EU compared to other Balkan states as necessary reforms are often blocked due to political and communal disputes.

There has also been resistance from some EU member states, particularly France, on expanding the bloc into the Balkans.   

jsi/cw (AFP, Reuters)

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