According to statements by members of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency on Tuesday, the bickering which crippled the country for more than a year is officially ending and everyone got what they wanted - Bosnia will finally have a new government formed soon and will send ‘a document’ - which was the reason for the political crisis - to NATO.
The spokesperson of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), the main Bosnian Serb party in the country, told N1 that the three Presidency members finally expressed support for Zoran Tegeltija for the post of Chairman of the country’s Council of Ministers. The information came following a special Presidency session held with the ambassadors of the United States, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Germany and the Head of the EU Delegation to Bosnia.
Bosnia did not have a new government – officially called the Council of Ministers – formed since the October 2018 election, and the previous ministers have since then been serving their posts in technical mandates.
This is because the Bosniak and Croat members of the tripartite Presidency, Sefik Dzaferovic and Zeljko Komsic, respectively, refused to vote for the new candidate for Chairman, who was supposed to come from the party of Serb Presidency member Milorad Dodik.
At the centre of the deadlock was a document Bosnia was supposed to send to the NATO headquarters in Brussels, the Annual National Programme (ANP), which would be the next step on Bosnia’s path toward membership in the alliance – it would activate the country’s Membership Action Plan (MAP).
NATO remains unpopular with Serbs in both Serbia and in Bosnia's Serb-majority semi-autonomous entity of Republika Srpska (RS) since the alliance launched airstrikes against the Bosnian Serbs during the 1992-95 Bosnian war and against the Serbian military in 1999 during the conflict between Belgrade and ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.
Although it agreed to Bosnia joining NATO about a decade ago, Dodik’s SNSD changed its mind in recent years and refused to let the country make any step toward membership. In line with neighbouring Serbia, Republika Srpska adopted a Resolution on Military Neutrality in 2017 which means it opposes membership in any military alliances.
But Komsic and Dzaferovic argued that not sending the document would breach earlier decisions and the law and they insisted that unless it is sent, they will not vote for Tegeltija.
They have finally expressed support for him on Tuesday.
Without ever mentioning the ANP, Komsic said that “the document will be submitted a day after the House of Representatives of the Bosnia's Parliamentary Assembly confirms the appointment of the Council of Ministers’ Chairman-designate.”
Dzaferovic said at a press conference that the Presidency has on Tuesday “adopted a set of reforms” which will be sent to Brussels.
“There is no winner or loser among any politicians of policies here. The winners are Bosnia and Herzegovina, all parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina and all the peoples and citizens,” he said.
None of the Presidency members confirmed that the document to be sent is the ANP.
“I will not make a statement with which I could make the situation more difficult and make the (political) climate worse. It is enough for me to say that this document is acceptable to NATO, that it is in accordance with principles of the rule of law and that it respects all previous decisions,” Dzaferovic said.
He also explained that this should result in progress in all of Bosnia’s ongoing processes and in the unblocking of the work of all government levels and institutions.
“Those are reforms within Bosnia and Herzegovina, reforms in all sectors and it is finally time for us to devote ourselves to what we were elected for,” he said, explaining that the members of the Presidency finally reached a consensus.
“It was as I said before – neither Dzaferovic’s, not Dodik’s nor Komsic’s dictatorship is possible, only us reaching an agreement is possible,” he said.