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Stalemate over

January 12, 2012

Bosnian lawmakers have voted in a new prime minister after more than a year of political stalemate. Vjekoslav Bevanda has told parliament he hopes to attain EU candidate status by year's end.

Vjekoslav Bevanda shakes hand of lawmaker
Vjekoslav Bevanda the vote of 31 out of 42 deputiesImage: dapd

Lawmakers in Bosnia and Herzegovina voted to name Vjekoslav Bevanda as their new prime minister, ending 15 months of political gridlock that threatened the country's fragile stability.

General elections in October 2010 produced a fragmented parliament with no party coming close to having a majority. After more than a year of negotiations, 31 deputies in the 42-seat national parliament voted to back Bevanda.

Bevanda, 55, is a member of the Croat HDZ party. He was finance minister for the semi-autonomous Muslim-Croat Federation from 2006 to 2011 and is credited with stabilizing the region's finances during the 2008-2009 economic crisis.

Speaking to deputies before the vote, he called on politicians representing Bosnia's three main communities - Muslims, Croats and Serbs - to "join forces to resolve the economic problems." He added that "European integration is the only path to the future."

Bosnian politicians sit at round table
The breakthrough to back Bevanda came last monthImage: sarajevo-x.com

"Our most important goal is to resume efforts to join the EU," Bevanda said. "I hope that we can adopt laws smoothly and that Bosnia can obtain EU candidate status by the end of the year."

EU hopes for cabinet names soon

The European Union's delegation in Sarajevo welcomed the confirmation of Bevanda.

"We hope a speedy allocation of ministerial portfolios will follow in order to enable the new council of ministers to get on with work on the long overdue and necessary EU-related reforms," it said in a statement.

The six parties backing Bevanda have yet to reveal whom they plan to place in cabinet positions. When they agreed to back Bevanda last month, they also agreed to vote for two laws the EU had been seeking - a national census and a law on the distribution of state aid.

Author: Andrew Bowen (AP, AFP)
Editor: Andreas Illmer