Haris Silajdzic

Haris Silajdzic, Member of the Presidency, Bosnia and Herzegovina

(AP, DPA, AKI - 06/11/06; Official BiH Presidency Web Site; Wikipedia)

Haris Silajdzic[Getty Images]

Haris Silajdzic was sworn in as the Bosniak member of Bosnia and Herzegovina's (BiH) tripartite presidency on November 6th, 2006, five weeks after the country's general elections on October 1st. He and the other two members of the collective presidency, Serb Nebojsa Radmanovic and Croat Zeljko Komsic, were elected by direct popular vote to a four-year term, replacing Sulejman Tihic, Borislav Paravac and Ivo Miro Jovic, respectively.

Silajdzic was born on October 1st, 1945, in Sarajevo. He graduated from the Faculty of Arabic language and Islamic studies in Libya and obtained his PhD on the subject of American-Albanian relations.

Silajdzic served as Arabic language professor at the University in Pristina and as professor at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Sarajevo. He has also guest lectured at universities and organisations, including Harvard University, the University of Maryland, Chatham House (the Royal Institute for International Relations, London), the Carnegie Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Centre and other institutions.

Silajdzic was a key political figure during the 1992-1995 conflict in BiH. He served as foreign minister from 1991 to 1993 and then as prime minister from November 1993 until February 1996. Ten months later, he became the co-chairman of the Council of Ministers of BiH, serving in that post until February 2000.

Originally a member of the Party for Democratic Action (SDA), Silajdzic left the party in 1996, when he founded and headed the Party for BiH, which he still leads. He was a candidate for the Bosniak presidential seat in the October 2002 general elections, but was defeated by SDA leader Sulejman Tihic.

In the October 2006 presidential poll, Silajdzic, who favours the unification of BiH under a strong central government, won 62.8% of the Bosniak vote, leaving Tihic well behind.

"There is no doubt that the citizens of Bosnia are for the admission of our country into the EU," he said in his address at the presidential inauguration ceremony on November 6th, 2006. "There are, of course, serious differences about the way and the path for reaching this goal and these differences have to be solved with patience, agreement and taking into consideration different opinions."

Silajdzic is due to take over the eight-month rotating presidency chairmanship from Komsic in March 2008.

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