Haris Silajdžić

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Haris Silajdžić
Haris Silajdžić.jpg
13th Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina
In office
6 March 2010 – 10 November 2010
Preceded byŽeljko Komšić
Succeeded byNebojša Radmanović
In office
6 March 2008 – 6 November 2008
Preceded byŽeljko Komšić
Succeeded byNebojša Radmanović
5th Bosniak Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina
In office
6 November 2006 – 10 November 2010
Prime MinisterNikola Špirić
Preceded bySulejman Tihić
Succeeded byBakir Izetbegović
Co-chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina
In office
3 January 1997 – 6 June 2000
Serving with Boro Bosić (1997–99)
Svetozar Mihajlović (1999–2000)
PresidentAlija Izetbegović
Živko Radišić
Ante Jelavić
Preceded byHasan Muratović (as Prime Minister)
Succeeded bySpasoje Tuševljak (as Chairman of the Council of Ministers)
3rd Prime Minister of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
In office
25 October 1993 – 30 January 1996
PresidentAlija Izetbegović
Preceded byMile Akmadžić
Succeeded byHasan Muratović
Additional ministries
1st Prime Minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
In office
31 May 1994 – 31 January 1996
PresidentKrešimir Zubak
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byIzudin Kapetanović
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
20 December 1990 – 30 October 1993
Prime MinisterJure Pelivan
Mile Akmadžić
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byIrfan Ljubijankić
Additional positions
President of the Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina
In office
13 April 1996 – 6 March 2012
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byAmer Jerlagić
Personal details
Born (1945-10-01) 1 October 1945 (age 75)
Breza, PR Bosnia and Herzegovina, FPR Yugoslavia
Political partyParty for Bosnia and Herzegovina (1996–present)
Other political
Party of Democratic Action (1990–1996)
(m. 2016)
ResidenceSarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Haris Silajdžić (Bosnian pronunciation: [xaris silajdʒitɕ]; born 1 October 1945) is a Bosnian politician and academic who served as the 5th Bosniak member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2006 to 2010.[1] He was the 3rd Prime Minister of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1993 to 1996.

Silajdžić was born in Breza in 1945. During the Bosnian War, he served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1990 to 1993, and later as Prime Minister. In the height of the war, he was one of the most influential Bosnian officials and a close ally of the country's first president, Alija Izetbegović. From 1994 until 1996, Silajdžić served as the 1st Prime Minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. After his term as Federal Prime Minister ended, Silajdžić was appointed Co-chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1997, serving until 2000.

At the 2006 general election, he was elected Bosniak member of the Bosnian Presidency. Silajdžić served as member until 2010, after losing his bid for re-election at the 2010 general election. Originally, a prominent member of Alija Izetbegović's Party of Democratic Action, Silajdžić left the party in 1996 to establish the Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina (SBiH). As both president of SBiH and Presidency member, he took part in many constitutional reform talks, most notably in those regarding the 2006 April package, a compromise proposal for constitutional amendments which included, among other things, an individual president indirectly elected by Parliament, as opposed to being directly elected by popular vote. Silajdžić served as SBiH's president until 2012.

Early political career[edit]

Silajdžić (far left) alongside U.S. President Bill Clinton, overseeing the signing of the Washington Agreement between Alija Izetbegović and Franjo Tuđman, 18 March 1994

From 1990 to 1993, during the Bosnian War, Silajdžić served as the first Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and as the Prime Minister from October 1993 to January 1996. Originally, he was a member and vice-president of the Party of Democratic Action (SDA), but broke away from the party in 1996 by funding his own Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina (SBiH).[2] His SBiH entered the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina and become one of the leading Bosnian Muslim parties the following year.[3] Also from 31 May 1994 to 31 January 1996, Silajdžić served as the first Prime Minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

During the war, he was a strong ally and type of a consultant of Alija Izetbegović, the first and only president of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

After the end of the war, on 3 January 1997, he was appointed to the position of Co-chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, serving alongside Boro Bosić and Svetozar Mihajlović until 6 June 2000.

Presidency (2006–2010)[edit]

Silajdžić with former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, 27 May 2010

Silajdžić had a strong political comeback in the 2006 general election, by getting 62.8% of the votes and getting elected as the 5th Bosniak member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[4]

In 2007, the International Court of Justice in the Hague acquitted Serbia of the charges of complicity in genocide brought against the "Federal Republic of Yugoslavia" by the Bosnian government.[5] Silajdžić expressed disappointment at the court's ruling, but welcomed the fact that the court "ruled that Serbia and Montenegro had violated the Genocide Convention by not preventing or punishing the perpetrators of the genocide."[6]

Silajdžić was a member of the Bosnian delegation which negotiated the US-brokered Dayton Agreement. He continued stressing that the document was essential in ending the genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but later saw it as an obstacle in reunifying the country. Making strong steps and claims in 2006 and 2007 towards canceling certain parts of the Dayton Agreement, Silajdžić directly opposed the constitution of the country, thus being a very controversial political figure, famous on the Bosniak and infamous on the Serbian side. His main goals were abolishing the existence of Republika Srpska, breaking certain relations with Serbia and reforming the country towards unity.

During his four-year term as Presidency member, Silajdžić was backed by authorities and organizations throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina that voiced dissatisfaction with the Dayton Agreement provisions and opposed the autonomy of the Republika Srpska entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina.[7][8]

Constitutional reform[edit]

Silajdžić (bottom row, fifth from right) alongside other Southeast European leaders at a SEECP Summit in Istanbul, 23 June 2010

The 2005 Opinion of the Venice Commission, an advisory body of the Council of Europe, which coincided with the 10th anniversary of the Dayton Agreement opened the debate on a constitutional reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the impulse of U.S. diplomacy, with a view of modernizing the country's institutions.[9]

The U.S. Ambassador Douglas L. McElhaney in Sarajevo and Ambassador Donald Hays in Washington led the U.S. talks with party leaders and the initiative to draft a compromise proposal for constitutional amendments, dubbed the April Package (aprilski paket). Overall, the April Package would have better defined and partly expanded State competences, and streamlined institutions, partly limiting the veto powers of ethnic groups. The amended Constitution would have included, among other things, an individual President (with two deputies, one for each constituent people, to rotate every 16 months instead of 8), indirectly elected by Parliament with a more ceremonial role, and a reinforced Chairman of the Council of Ministers.[10]

At the moment of Parliamentary approval, the constitutional amendments failed by 2 votes, only gathering 26 MPs in favour over 42, instead of the required 42. This was due to the maximalist pre-electoral positions taken by Silajdžić's SBiH (wishing to abolish also entity voting) and by the Croatian Democratic Union 1990 (HDZ 1990) splinter party, who felt the proposal did not sufficiently protect the Bosnian Croats.[10] The U.S. would try to rescue the April Package by facilitating further talks in 2007 between Milorad Dodik (now in power in Republika Srpska) and Silajdžić (now a member of the Presidency), but to no avail.[10]

2010 general election[edit]

In the 2010 general election, Silajdžić decided to run for a second term in the Presidency, but failed to do so when election day came, getting only 25.10% of the votes, 5% less than Fahrudin Radončić and 9% less than elected Bakir Izetbegović, the son of Alija Izetbegović.

Personal life[edit]

Silajdžić has been married to former Bosnian pop singer Selma Muhedinović since 2016,[11] after he had reportedly been in a relationship with her for over fifteen years. Silajdžić said that their mutual tendency towards art, his being poetry and hers being music, was what initially sparked their attraction. They live in Sarajevo.


On 27 May 2020, Silajdžić underwent a successful open heart surgery in Sarajevo after he decided to have surgery due to the worsening situation with his blood vessels in his heart.[12]

Awards and honours[edit]

In 1995, Silajdžić was conferred the Croatian Order of Duke Trpimir.[13]

In 2005, he received a Doctorate in International Relations honoris causa by the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations.[14] In 2018, Silajdžić was conferred Sitara-e-Pakistan for his services to Pakistan by the 12th President of Pakistan, Mamnoon Hussain.[15][16]



  1. ^ "Search - Global Edition". International Herald Tribune. 29 March 2009. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  2. ^ "CBC News Indepth: Balkans". Cbc.ca. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  3. ^ Šedo 2013, p. 88.
  4. ^ "CIK: Silajdžić, Komšić i Radmanović članovi Predsjedništva BiH" (in Bosnian). Klix.ba. 2 October 2006. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  5. ^ Court clears Serbia of genocide, bbc.co.uk; accessed 11 March 2016.
  6. ^ "Bosnia genocide ruling splits regional media". BBC News. 28 February 2007. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  7. ^ Profile, rferl.org; accessed 11 March 2016.
  8. ^ Gienger, Viola (14 February 2009). "Bosnian Wartime Leader Calls for Revival of U.S. Role by Obama". Bloomberg. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  9. ^ U.S. Department of State. "Bosnia Ten Years Later: Successes and Challenges". Speech by R. Nicholas Burns, Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Washington DC, November 21, 2005
  10. ^ a b c Davide Denti, The European Union and Member State Building in Bosnia and Herzegovina, PhD thesis, University of Trento, 2018
  11. ^ "Da li su Haris Silajdžić i Selma Muhedinović stali na ludi kamen?". Radio Sarajevo. 9 March 2016. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  12. ^ A.D. (27 May 2020). "Harisu Silajdžiću uspješno operisano srce u Sarajevu" (in Bosnian). Klix.ba. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  13. ^ a b 46 07.07.1995 Odluka kojom se odlikuju Redom kneza Trpimira s ogrlicom i Danicom
  14. ^ "Honorary Degree Recipients". Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations. Archived from the original on 28 February 2011.
  15. ^ "President Mamnoon confers civil awards on Yaum-i-Pakistan". Dawn.
  16. ^ a b "Haris Silajdžić odlikovan jednim od najvažnijih priznanja Pakistana". Radio Sarajevo (in Bosnian). Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  • Šedo, Jakub (2013). "The party system of Bosnia and Herzegovina". In Stojarová, Vera; Emerson, Peter (eds.). Party Politics in the Western Balkans. New York: Routledge. ISBN 9781135235857.

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