After sixteen months of haggling, obstructionism and posturing, Bosnia And Herzegovina has a new government.
Bosnia and Herzegovina held national elections back in October 2010, but the political leaders were unable to reach agreement on formation of a coalition government at the state level. The division of government portfolios among the potential coalition parties was at the heart of the dispute.
In the meantime, progress on reforms required for the country’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration – goals shared by the overwhelming majority of the country’s citizens – ground to a halt. The political stalemate also prevented the government from passing a national budget.
As a result, Bosnia and Herzegovina has been unable to take advantage of aid offered by international financial institutions, and has also fallen behind its neighbors on its path to European integration.
The country’s new prime minister, Vjekoslav Bevanda promised that the new government’s first order of business would be to address the country’s economic problems, including adopting a state budget for 2012.
If Bosnia and Herzegovina can manage to pass a budget for this year, and to agree on a fiscal framework for the next two years, it will become eligible for additional international financial assistance.
“We congratulate Chairman Bevanda and the entire government as they take up the important responsibility of leading Bosnia and Herzegovina forward on behalf of its citizens,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
“With the new Council in place, we are confident that the Bosnian Government will be able to build on its recent passage of E[uropean] U[nion]-related legislation to open the door for a Bosnian application for EU candidacy.
“We also expect that the government will address as top priorities an agreement on a 2012 budget and the registration of defense property to meet NATO’s condition for full participation in the Membership Action Plan,” said Victoria Nuland.
“We look forward to continuing to support Bosnia and Herzegovina’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration aspirations, alongside our European and other international partners.”