Bosniak Coalition Tension Hit New Low

Sarajevo – Tensions within the ruling Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) coalition hit a new low as leaders exchanged accusations in a bid to hold on to key sectors and future investment.

Over the weekend and on Monday, local media carried a flurry of terse statements from the leaders of the Bosniak ruling Party of Democratic Action, SDA, and its main coalition partner, the Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina, SZBH.

SZBH president Haris Silajdzic accused the SDA of “a conspiracy” and attempts to block key investments in the power sector. SDA replied in a kind and accused the SZBH of attempted theft.

Relations between these two parties have been strained for more than a year as they increasingly fight for control over key sectors and lucrative investment projects. SDA has been controlling one of the most profitable local companies, BH Telekom, while SZBH used to have control over the main power company, Elektroprivreda BH. Yet the SZBH has tried to push through what is seen as dubious partner companies through non-transparent direct deals and without public tenders.
 
These attempts were blocked by the SDA. The struggle effectively blocked and even reversed several key projects in Bosnia’s larger Federation entity, such as the privatisation of BH Telekom and the construction of new power plants. At the same time, the other entity Republika Srpska, has proceeded aggressively with privatisation and a business development agenda.
 
Such power struggles have decimated SZBH’s popularity, which became obvious in their poor showing in the October 5 local elections. As a result, SDA president Sulejman Tihic announced a possible reshuffle in the Federation government but that was rejected by Haris Silajdzic, who still supports the most disputed minister of industry, energy and mining, Vahid Heco. 

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