Željko Komšić

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Željko Komšić
Željko Komšić.jpg
17th, 20th, 23rd, 26th and 35th Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina
In office
20 July 2019 – 20 March 2020
Prime MinisterDenis Zvizdić
Zoran Tegeltija
Preceded byMilorad Dodik
Succeeded byŠefik Džaferović
In office
10 July 2013 – 10 March 2014
Prime MinisterVjekoslav Bevanda
Preceded byNebojša Radmanović
Succeeded byBakir Izetbegović
In office
10 July 2011 – 10 March 2012
Prime MinisterNikola Špirić
Vjekoslav Bevanda
Preceded byNebojša Radmanović
Succeeded byBakir Izetbegović
In office
6 July 2009 – 6 March 2010
Prime MinisterNikola Špirić
Preceded byNebojša Radmanović
Succeeded byHaris Silajdžić
In office
6 July 2007 – 6 March 2008
Prime MinisterNikola Špirić
Preceded byNebojša Radmanović
Succeeded byHaris Silajdžić
9th and 11th Croat Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Assumed office
20 November 2018
Prime MinisterDenis Zvizdić
Zoran Tegeltija
Preceded byDragan Čović
In office
6 November 2006 – 17 November 2014
Prime MinisterAdnan Terzić
Nikola Špirić
Vjekoslav Bevanda
Preceded byIvo Miro Jović
Succeeded byDragan Čović
Member of the House of Representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina
In office
9 December 2014 – 20 November 2018
Constituency3rd Electoral Unit of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
1st President of the Democratic Front
Assumed office
7 April 2013
Preceded byOffice established
Municipality president of Novo Sarajevo
In office
In office
Bosnia and Herzegovina Ambassador to FR Yugoslavia
In office
Speaker of the City Council of Sarajevo
In office
Personal details
Born (1964-01-20) 20 January 1964 (age 56)
Sarajevo, SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, SFR Yugoslavia
Political partyDemocratic Front (2013–present)
Other political
Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1997–2013)
Sabina Komšić (m. 1996)
ResidenceSarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
EducationSarajevo III Gymnasium
Alma materUniversity of Sarajevo (LL.B.)
OccupationPolitician, diplomat
AwardsBIH Order of the Golden Lilly 1st Class.png Order of the Golden Lily 1st Class
Military service
Allegiance Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Branch/serviceArmy of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Years of service1992–1996
RankPlatoon leader
Battles/warsBosnian War

Željko Komšić (born 20 January 1964) is a Bosnian politician and diplomat who is the 11th and current Croat member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He served as the Presidency member already from 2006 until 2014, and he was elected to the same office for a third term in the 2018 election, thus becoming the second Presidency member overall (after Bosniak Alija Izetbegović) and the first, and so far only Croat member to serve more than two terms. He was sworn in on 20 November 2018, along with fellow newly elected Presidency members Šefik Džaferović (Bosniak) and Milorad Dodik (Serb).

Komšić was a prominent figure of the Social Democratic Party until he left it in 2012 to establish the Democratic Front a year later.

Personal life and education[edit]

Komšić was born in Sarajevo to a Bosnian Croat father, Marko, and Bosnian Serb mother Danica. (née Stanić; 1941 – 1 August 1992). His mother, Danica, was killed by a sniper of the Armed forces of the Republika Srpska as she sipped coffee in her apartment during the Siege of Sarajevo.[1] According to many, this event was his breaking point,[citation needed] as at the time, he was enlisted in the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Komšić would go on to earn the Order of the Golden Lily, which was at the time the highest state order awarded for military merits.[2] His maternal grandfather Marijan Stanić, who was a Chetnik during World War II, died two years before Komšić was born.[3][unreliable source?][failed verification] The Stanić family hailed from the village of Kostajnica, near Doboj.[4] Komšić was baptised a Catholic, like his father. However, being a religious-skeptic, he left the Catholic church. He is a self-described agnostic.[5]

Komšić has a Bachelor of Laws' degree from the Faculty of Law of University of Sarajevo. He was chosen to represent Bosnia and Herzegovina in selective anual Georgetown Leadership Seminar[6] in 2003.[7] His wife Sabina, is an ethnic Bosniak. The couple has a daughter named Lana.[8]

Komšić was one of the signatories of the Declaration on the Common Language for Croats, Serbs, Bosniaks and Montenegrins.[9]

Bosnian war[edit]

During the Bosnian war, Komšić served in the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and received the Golden Lily — the highest military decoration awarded by the Bosnian-Herzegovinian government.[10][11]

Early political career[edit]

After the war, Komšić embarked on a political career as a member of the Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina (SDP-BiH). He was a councilman of the municipality of Novo Sarajevo and in the city council of Sarajevo, before being elected the head of the municipal government of Novo Sarajevo in 2000. He then also served as the deputy mayor of Sarajevo for two years. When the "Alliance for Democratic Change" coalition came to power in 1998, Komšić was named the ambassador to the now defunct FR Yugoslavia in Belgrade. He resigned this commission after the election in 2002 when SDP went back into opposition.


First term (2006–2010)[edit]

Komšić alongside U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on 23 September 2009.

Komšić was SDP's candidate for the Croat seat in the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 2006 Bosnian general election. He received 116,062 votes, or 39.6%[12] ahead of Ivo Miro Jović (HDZ; 26.1%), Božo Ljubić (HDZ 1990; 18.2%), Mladen Ivanković-Lijanović (NSRB; 8.5%), Zvonko Jurišić (HSP; 6.9%) and Irena Javor-Korjenić (0.7%).[12] He was sworn into office on 1 October 2006. His victory was widely attributed[by whom?][dubious ] to a split in the HDZ-BiH party, enabling the SDP to win a majority of the Bosniaks votes.[citation needed] Croats see him as an illegitimate representative of the Bosnian Croats because he was elected mostly by Bosniak voters.[13]

In May 2008, the Bosniak Member of the Presidency at the time, Haris Silajdžić, stated during his visit to Washington, D. C. that there is only one language in Bosnia and Herzegovina and that it goes by three names. His statement created negative reactions from Croat political parties and, at the time, Prime Minister of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik. Komšić replied to Silajdžić that he is not the one who will decide how many languages are being spoken in Bosnia and Herzegovina.[14]

According to a study conducted by the National Democratic Institute in 2010, Komšić was the most popular politician among the Bosniaks.[15]

Second term (2010–2014)[edit]

Komšić meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington, D.C. on 13 December 2011.

At the 2010 general election, Komšić won 337,065 votes, 60.6% of total. He was followed by Borjana Krišto (HDZ; 19.7%), Martin Raguž (HK; 10.8%), Jerko Ivanković-Lijanović (NSRB; 8.1%), Pero Galić (0.3%), Mile Kutle (0.2%) and Ferdo Galić (0.2%).[16]

Komšić's electoral win in 2010 is highly contested by Croat political representatives and generally seen as electoral fraud. Namely, every citizen in the Federation can decide whether to vote for a Bosniak or a Croat representative. However, since Bosniaks make up 70% of Federation's population and Croats only 22%, a candidate running to represent Croats in the Presidency can be effectively elected even without a majority among the Croat community - if enough Bosniak voters decide to vote on a Croat ballot. This happened in 2006 and in 2010, when Komšić, an ethnic Croat, backed by multiethnic Social-Democrat Party, won the elections with very few Croat votes.[17][18] In 2010, he didn't win in a single municipality that had Croat-majority or plurality; nearly all of these went to Borjana Krišto. Bulk of the votes Komšić received came from predominantly Bosniak areas and he fared quite poorly in Croat municipalities, supported by less than 2,5% of the electorate in a number of municipalities in Western Herzegovina, such as Široki Brijeg, Ljubuški (0,8%), Čitluk, Posušje and Tomislavgrad, while not being able to gain not even 10% in a number of others.[19] Komšić received over seven thousand votes from the Bosniak-majority municipality Kalesija, where a total of 20 Croats live. Furthermore, total Croat population in whole of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was then estimated around 495,000;[20]

Komšić received 336,961 votes alone, while all other Croat candidates won 230,000 votes altogether. Croats consider him to be an illegitimate representative and generally treat him as a second Bosniak member of the presidency.[21][22][23][24] This raised frustration among Croats, undermined their trust in federal institutions and empowered claims for their own entity or a federal unit.[25]

Croat population of Bosnia and Herzegovina vs share of votes for the Democratic Front
Relative majority by municipality for presidential election in the Federation.
Komšić's 2010 election results as a share of total votes cast in each municipality. Note that Komšić did not win more than 15% of votes in a single Croat-majority municipality

Return to Presidency; Third term (2018–present)[edit]

In the 2018 general election, Komšić was once again elected to the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina as the Croat member with 52.64% of the votes, 16.5% more than his successor, presidency member Dragan Čović.[26] On 20 July 2019, he, for a record fifth time, became the new Presidency Chairman for the following eight months, succeeding Serb member Milorad Dodik.[27] After eight months, on 20 March 2020, Bosniak member Šefik Džaferović succeeded Komšić as Chairman for, as well, the next eight months.[28]


  • BIH Order of the Golden Lilly 1st Class.png Order of the Golden Lily 1st Class: 1995


  1. ^ "In Little Bosnia, a gift from immigrants". St. Louis Today. 30 September 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  2. ^ http://www.historija.ba/d/294-roden-zeljko-komsic/
  3. ^ Simić, S. (15 November 2009). "Verovali ili ne: Četnički koreni zlatnog ljiljana?". Press Online. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  4. ^ "Hrvat Željko Komšić potomak četničkog vojvode". Telegraf. 20 August 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  5. ^ https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=bs&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.oslobodjenje.ba%2Fvijesti%2Fregion%2Fko-je-komsic-pitaju-se-mediji-u-hrvatskoj-otac-marko-je-hrvat-majka-danica-bila-je-srpkinja-i-poginula-je-tokom-rata-u-sarajevu-zeljko-je-krsten-ali-se-izjasnjava-kao-agnostik-399597
  6. ^ https://isd.georgetown.edu/georgetown-leadership-seminar
  7. ^ https://gls.georgetown.edu/alumni/gls2003
  8. ^ "Sabina Komsic".
  9. ^ Derk, Denis (28 March 2017). "Donosi se Deklaracija o zajedničkom jeziku Hrvata, Srba, Bošnjaka i Crnogoraca" [A Declaration on the Common Language of Croats, Serbs, Bosniaks and Montenegrins is About to Appear] (in Serbo-Croatian). Zagreb: Večernji list. pp. 6–7. ISSN 0350-5006. Archived from the original on 23 May 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  10. ^ Željko Komšić - član predsjedništva BIH iz reda hrvatskog naroda - Biografija: Archived 27 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Southeast European Times - ZeljkoKomsic - Member of the Presidency, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  12. ^ a b "Opći izbori 2006 - potvrđeni rezultati: hrvatski član Predsjedništva" (in Bosnian). Central Election Committee of BiH. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  13. ^ Berglund 2013, p. 501.
  14. ^ "Komšić: U BiH se ne govori samo jedan jezik" (in Croatian). Klix. 26 May 2008. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  15. ^ "Najpopularniji Komšić, HDZ raste, pad SDA". Večernji list (in Croatian). 20 May 2010. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
  16. ^ "Potvrđeni rezultati Općih izbora 2010. godine: Predsjedništvo BiH - Hrvatski član" (in Croatian). Central Election Committee of BiH. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  17. ^ Andrew MacDowall: "Dayton Ain’t Going Nowhere", Foreign Policy, 12 December 2015.
  18. ^ "News Analysis: Few surprises expected in Bosnian general elections". Xinhua. 3 October 2010. Archived from the original on 6 October 2010.
  19. ^ Central Electorate Commission, results in municipalities, 2010
  20. ^ U BiH ima 48,4 posto Bošnjaka, 32,7 posto Srba i 14, 6 posto Hrvata (Article on the preliminary report of 2013 census) Archived 31 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ International Crisis Group: Bosnia’s Future Europe, Report N°232, 10 July 2014
  22. ^ Vogel, T. K. (9 October 2006). "Bosnia: From the Killing Fields to the Ballot Box". The Globalist. Archived from the original on 10 October 2009. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  23. ^ Pavić, Snježana (8 October 2010). "Nije točno da Hrvati nisu glasali za Željka Komšića, u Grudama je dobio 124 glasa". Jutarnji list (in Croatian). Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  24. ^ "Reforma Federacije uvod je u reformu izbornog procesa" (in Croatian). Dnevno. 13 May 2013. Archived from the original on 4 December 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  25. ^ Luka Oreskovic: "Doing Away with Et Cetera", Foreign Policy. 30 October 2013
  26. ^ Er. M. (8 October 2018). "CIK ponovo potvrdio: Džaferović, Dodik i Komšić novi članovi Predsjedništva BiH" (in Bosnian). Klix.ba. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  27. ^ "Dodiku „odzvonilo": Željko Komšić novi predsjedavajući Predsjedništva BiH" (in Bosnian). radiosarajevo.ba. 20 July 2019. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  28. ^ "Šefik Džaferović od danas predsjedavajući Predsjedništva BiH" (in Bosnian). n1info.com. 20 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  • Berglund, Sten (2013). The Handbook of Political Change in Eastern Europe. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing. ISBN 9781782545880.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Ivo Miro Jović
Croat member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Succeeded by
Dragan Čović
Preceded by
Dragan Čović
Croat member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina