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Croats, Muslims Elect Mayor for Divided City

August 14, 1996

MOSTAR, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) _ The new Muslim-Croat council in the divided city of Mostar named a mayor and regional leader Wednesday.

The breakthrough came at the first session of the council, after prolonged haggling over power-sharing in the city.

The council named Bosnian Croat Ivan Prskalo, a moderate, as mayor, and appointed Muslim Safet Orucevic as his deputy.

Hamdija Jahic, a Muslim, was designated governor of the canton. His Croat deputy is Vjekoslav Kordic.

After the Croats narrowly lost the June 30 election to a Muslim-led coalition, they refused to take their seats on the council that was to give Mostar unified leadership, claiming voting irregularities.

Finally on Tuesday, under intense pressure from the Western powers, the sides agreed that a Croat would be mayor and a Muslim would head the regional government, to ensure ethnic balance.

``I will try to create better living conditions for all citizens of Mostar,″ the new mayor said. ``This city should be built like a European city because it deserves it.″

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