Bakir Izetbegovic of the Party of Democratic Action, SDA, and Zeljko Komsic of the Democratic Front, DF, on Tuesday said the crisis in the government of Bosnia's mainly Bosniak and Croat Federation entity had been resolved.
The two politicians said that problems over opposing views among coalition partners on the replacement of managers in key public companies had been overcome.
Their separate statements indicated different positions on the issue, however.
“We have agreed to move on with appointments of acting managers, that is the main supervisory boards, to those companies that make losses,” Izetbegovic said after the meeting with Komsic.
He added that the first five or six such companies would get a new administration at the next government session, expected on Thursday.
Komsic, however, said the Federation government would simultaneously send in the financial police and appoint new administrations for the companies in question.
After the announced breakthrough at Tuesday's meeting, the leader of the third coalition partner, Dragan Covic, from the Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, said “it appears” that an agreement was in sight. “We will test this agreement at the next session,” he said.
Previously, Covic had warned that unless the Federation government appointed new administrations for the most problematic companies this week, the HDZ would leave the ruling coalition at all levels. Such move would most likely topple the state and Federation entity governments.
The three parties, which form the backbone of the ruling coalitions in the Federation, in several of the Federation entity's tens cantons and at state level, have squabbled over the appointment of new managements to key public companies in the Federation for weeks.
The SDA and HDZ agreed that the new Federation government should appoint new managements in key public companies – the usual practice after each election in Bosnia – but the DF said managers should only be changed for companies that were not operating well.
The managements in the other companies should be allowed to complete their four-year mandate, the DF insisted.
The three parties clashed over this issue again last week, after the HDZ wanted to appoint new managers to several key companies – including Aluminium Mostar, the power company Elektroprivreda Herceg Bosne and Eronet – which in the past were run by managers close to HDZ, but whose administration was changed last year when the HDZ was not in the Federation government.
Experts and international officials appeared perplexed by the statements emerging after Tuesday's meeting, and said that only the time will show whether the crisis has been overcome.
Sarajevo analyst Almir Terzic told Balkan Insight that the HDZ was trying to install its people to positions they lost in the previous term when the party was in opposition.
“The Federation government has been in a constant crisis from the time it was formed [in March]. This will get even worse in the upcoming period,” he remarked, referring to the poor financial, economic and social situation in the country generally.