Bosnia finally gets PM-designate after a year-long political stalemate

NEWS 19.11.2019 18:08
Source: Shutterstock

Bosnia and Herzegovina's tripartite state presidency on Tuesday appointed Zoran Tegeltija Prime Minister-designate, paving the way for the final settlement of the political crisis in the country that has lasted since the October 2018 elections.

Tegeltija, a former finance minister in the government of the Bosnian Serb entity of Republika Srpska and official of Milorad Dodik’s SNSD party, was appointed at a Presidency session held behind closed doors.

His appointment is no surprise because he was nominated by Dodik immediately after last year’s elections in line with the principle of ethnic rotation in senior central government positions under which the government, or the Council of Ministers, is to be chaired by an ethnic Serb in its current term, which lasts until 2022.

Tegeltija’s nomination is now to be confirmed by the House of Representatives of the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which will not be a problem since the SNSD, the Croat HDZ BiH party, and the predominantly Bosniak Party of Democratic Action (SDA) had earlier reached agreement in principle on government formation and hold the necessary majority of seats in both chambers of the state parliament for that move.

Tegeltija was appointed Prime Minister-designate after the ambassadors of the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy and the European Union held talks with the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency members about the problem of government formation.

The main reason for more than a year-long delay in government formation was a dispute between the SNSD and the SDA on whether the new government would assume a clear obligation to take steps to bring Bosnia and Herzegovina closer to NATO membership.

Local media said the dispute was resolved after it was agreed that the annual national reform programme, which NATO insists on in order to activate Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Membership Action Plan (MAP), would nonetheless be sent to Brussels, but that it will not be done by the Council of Ministers but by the Bosnia and Herzegovina Mission to NATO.