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Bosnia Names Multiethnic Government

June 23, 2000

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) _ Bosnia’s legislature has approved a new multiethnic government, six months after the previous government was declared illegal, a government official said Friday.

The new Cabinet, whose members were proposed by recently appointed Prime Minister Spasoje Tusevljak, won approval from parliament on Thursday, said Branka Todorovic, secretary-general of the Bosnian parliament.

The previous body was declared illegal because it had two prime ministers. It was dissolved in February, and it took Bosnia’s three-member collective presidency six months to come up with a new candidate to form the government.

Tusevljak, an obscure Serb economics professor, was approved by parliament earlier this month.

Each minister in Tusevljak’s new government has two deputies from each of the other ethnic groups. For example, if a minister is a Bosnian Serb, he will have a Bosnian Muslim and a Croat deputy. The concept ensures that all three ethnic groups have equal representation.

``This government represents a compromise which respects the reality of the political moment in Bosnia-Herzegovina,″ Tusevljak said after his government won approval Thursday evening. ``Bosnia-Herzegovina is a complex country and it is not easy to work in its joint institutions.″

Tusevljak’s nomination surprised international officials, who effectively run the country, as well as the Bosnian public.

Because he is a publicly unknown figure, some have expressed doubted about whether he will be able to steer the country toward the required democratic and economic reforms: Privatization of state-owned assets, the return of more than 1 million refugees to their prewar homes and formation of a common market between the two autonomous regions _ the Bosnian Serb republic and the Muslim-Croat federation.

International officials said they will keep a close eye on the new prime minister. They hinted that if they become unsatisfied with his work, he might be removed.

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