Lawmakers in Bosnia-Herzegovina have approved a new government, breaking a 14-month stalemate since inconclusive general elections and disagreements over possible NATO membership left the ethnically divided Balkan state without a Council of Ministers.
Twenty-nine deputies voted in favor of the new Council of Ministers, with eight others opposed and one abstaining in the 42-seat parliament.
The breakthrough follows a compromise among the Serb, Croat, and Bosniak sides that cleared the way for approval of a new prime minister, Bosnian Serb economist Zoran Tegeltija, earlier this month.
Tegeltija, ministers, and deputy ministers were all sworn in after the December 23 vote.
One of the main issues confronting Bosnia's three-member, ethnically based presidency was opposition to eventual NATO membership by Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik and his SNDS party, to which Zoran Tegeltija also belongs.
Many Serbs oppose closer ties to NATO.
As part of a compromise in November, the Bosnian presidency agreed the Tegeltija nomination in exchange for sending a reform program to NATO headquarters in Brussels.
It is still unclear how the bridging of differences to form a government will affect reform efforts toward possible EU membership and cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Tegeltija has pledged to try to reinvigorate unfinished reforms that are blocking possible EU-candidate status for Bosnia and preventing disbursement of international loans.
Bosnia emerged from a 1992-95 war as two autonomous regions -- the Bosniak-Croat federation and Republika Srpska -- united under a weak central government.
The cabinet includes nine ministers from the three largest ethnic parties and two ministers from junior partners.
Reuters reports that a minister for human rights and refugees still must be approved.
One of the most prominent members of the new cabinet is Bisera Turkovic, a trained criminologist with extensive diplomatic experience in Europe and former ambassadorial postings to the United States, Mexico, and Brazil.
Other major appointments include Finance Minister Vjekoslav Bevanda, Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Minister Stasa Kosarac, Communications and Transport Minister Vojin Mitrovic, Justice Minister Josip Grubesa, and Defense Minister Sifet Podzic.
The IMF froze a $600 million-plus loan deal in 2018 over what it said were failures to enact economic reforms.