Bosnia’s Federation Govt Crisis Deepens

06 November 2008 Sarajevo – Top Bosnian Croat and Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) leaders have failed to agree on the restructuring of the government in the Croat-Bosniak-dominated Federation entity.

The decision has been postponed for the next meeting but unless an agreement is reached, Bosnia could face the rearrangement of the ruling coalition or even early elections, media reported on Thursday, quoting the president of the strongest Bosniak Party of Democratic Action, SDA, Sulejman Tihic.

Reshuffling of the Federation government has been put on the table ever since SDA and the Croat Democratic Union, HDZ, triumphed over their partners-turned opponents, the Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina, SZBH, and HDZ 1990 in the October 5 local elections.

Political infighting within and among these four parties over the past four years has blocked and even reversed key legal, economic and social reforms. As a result, the economic situation and living standards in the Federation has been failing and for the first time ever, in some areas falling behind the other entity of Republika Srpska.
In addition to the deadlock in the government, political disputes have been affecting the situation in the parliament and all other key structures in the entity as well as at state level.
Strong election results have reinforced the position of the SDA and HDZ in the ruling four-party coalition and triggered their request for the reshuffling of the government. The SDA and HDZ have been demanding changes in at least four ministries, while it is still uncertain whether this reshuffle would also include Premier from the SDA party, Nedzad Brankovic.
The SZBH party has been strongly opposing this move, in an attempt to protect its minister, Vahid Heco.

Heco, who is current minister for industry, energy and mining, has been facing growing public criticism for his attempt to impose dubious firms as strategic partners for key projects, without public tenders.   .
Top political and government officials convened a meeting in Sarajevo on Wednesday, in an attempt to reach a consensus and a way out of the deadlock.

However, the meeting failed to produce any breakthrough and officials agreed to continue the meeting on November 12. By then, Federation Prime Minister Brankovic is tasked to propose a resolution to the problem in his government.  
“Relations are not good within the parliamentarian majority,” Borjana Kristo, the Federation President from the HDZ told media after the end of the meeting on Wednesday evening.
Tihic told journalists that the best option would be if the four parties could reach a consensus on how to resolve the crisis. But if not, then the SDA leadership will decide between other options, which may include creation of a new ruling coalition or even early elections, he added. 

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