Bosnia and Herzegovina
New government in the Federation with liberals in it
In late March, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH), one of two entities in BiH, appointed the new government. This government finally replaced a government that was in office since 2014 and as a quasi-caretaker since 2018. Naša stranka, the country’s liberal party, participates in the new government with two ministers: Nasiha Pozder as Minister of Environment and Tourism, and Amir Hasičević as Minister of Trade. Even though coalition talks ended relatively quickly after the elections in October 2022, the Bosniak-nationalist SDA party, which governed uninterrupted since 1996, blocked the government approval forcing the hand of the High Representative Christian Schmidt to intervene. He unblocked the process in late April, so the new government was finally approved on 28 April.
Government formation marks the end of an extremely dubious and problematic period in FBiH's post-war history. The recent round of problems started in 2018 when the partnership between SDA and Croat HDZ collapsed over an electoral reform issue. The relatively complex process of replacing individual ministers led to a situation where the government of 2014 continued to function as a quasi-caretaker government for the entire 2018-2022 mandate. A Minister of Interior ended up being simultaneously a Member of Parliament in the House of Peoples of the Parliamentary Assembly of FBiH.
Aware of this democratic abomination, the High Representative enacted changes to the FBiH Constitution in October 2022 right after the polling stations closed, which were designed to prevent this situation from happening. Unfortunately, his actions – which were primarily designed to accommodate aggravated Croat parties in the Federation – placed an equally potent tool in the hands of the Bosniak SDA. Faced with a majority in the House of Representatives that sought to send it to the opposition, SDA utilised the newly acquired powers to block the formation of the government.
In any way, Bosnian liberals are ready to take responsibility for the betterment of FBiH. “As Minister of Trade, I will focus on a set of measures related to consumer protection, especially in this time when we all justifiably suspect that we as consumers are being stolen from in various ways”, Amir Hasičević said. “A crucial measure is the adoption of the Law on Consumer Protection in FBiH. Also, I consider it extremely important to strengthen the public-private partnership, which also lacks a better legal framework, so I am also announcing the adoption of a new law on public-private partnership.”