Bosnia presidency breaks deadlock to appoint PM designate

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Bosnia’s multiethnic presidency on Tuesday appointed a candidate to run the new government, breaking a political deadlock in the Balkan country more than a year after the holding of a general election.

Bosnian Serb politician Zoran Tegeltija was tapped by the three-member presidency to be the new head of the Council of Ministers, which is Bosnia’s de facto government, the Bosnian presidency said in a statement.

Tegeltija’s candidacy still needs to be confirmed in Bosnia’s parliament. The 58-year economist is a former finance minister of the Serb-run entity in Bosnia.

Tuesday’s announcement is seen as important for Bosnia, where the lack of a government has stalled recovery after a devastating 1992-95 war.

The formation of a government has been blocked since the October 2018 vote over disagreements on the level of cooperation with NATO.

Any decision the presidency takes must be agreed upon by all its members as part of a complex network of institutions and decision-making mechanisms created after the war and designed to maintain Bosnia’s fragile ethnic balance.

Bosnia’s Serbs are mainly pro-Russian and opposed to NATO, while the Bosniaks, who are mainly Muslims, and Croats have sought closer ties with the Western alliance.

Bosnian media have reported that the presidency members have managed to reach a compromise on a document on cooperation with NATO that had been a stumbling block.

The presidency statement said the reform program document will be delivered to the NATO headquarters within a day after Tageltija is voted into office. No other details were immediately available.

The Bosnian Serb opposition criticized the Serb member of Bosnia’s presidency Milorad Dodik, saying the agreement will lead to NATO membership. Dodik’s allies denied this.

Sefik Dzaferovic, the Bosniak member of the presidency, said that there have been “no winners or losers.”

“The winners are the citizens of Bosnia,” he added.

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