Bosnia’s new tripartite president was inaugurated yesterday in Sarajevo, following 3 October general elections that saw the Bosniak seat go to Bakir Izetbegovic; the Croat seat go to Zeljko Komsic; and the Serb seat go to Nebojsa Radmanovic. The three will serve a four-year mandate.
Bosniak Bakir Izetbegovic, the son of Bosnia’s wartime president Alija Izetbegovic, a member of the nationalist Party of Democratic Action (SDA) has shown recent indications that he may be more flexible than his predecessor, Haris Silajdzic. The hope is that Izetbegovic, despite the SDA’s historical penchant for ethno-nationalist rhetoric, will tone down these sentiments and help to improve the obstruct atmosphere. Though he is considered the leader of the hardline element of the SDA, according to statements he made following his electoral victory, it is emerging that he is a more moderate figure than Silajdzic and will work towards reconciliation.
Bosnian Croat Zeljko Komsic, of the moderate Social Democrat Party (SDP), is a hugely popular figure, especially among urban populations across ethnic lines. Hardline Bosnian Croat elements have rejected his electoral victory because he won the vote largely thanks moderate Bosniak supporters. Some Bosnian Croat elements say that Komsic cannot represent the Bosnian Croats in the presidency because Bosnian Croats were not responsible for his victory. His popularity is largely based on his reputation as a modest politician not entangled in corruption scandals: He remained in Sarajevo during the war; was a member of the Bosnian Army; and has been decorated with the highest military honors. This is Komsic second four-year mandate in the presidency.
Bosnian Serb Nebojsa Radmanovic, a member of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), is a holdover from the last mandate. Just like Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik, Radmanovic was earlier a moderate force who has since brought out the ethno-nationalism in full force.