Ivo Komšić

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Ivo Komšić
Ivo Komsic Sarajevo 1353.jpg
Honorific Citizen of Sarajevo award, 2015
37th Mayor of Sarajevo
In office
27 March 2013 – 6 February 2017
Preceded by Alija Behmen
Succeeded by Abdulah Skaka
Representative in the House of Representatives of the Federation
In office
Chairman of the House of Peoples of the Federation
In office
Leader of the New Croatian Initiative
In office
12 April 1993 – October 1995
Personal details
Born (1948-06-16) 16 June 1948 (age 68)
Kiseljak, SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, Yugoslavia
Political party League of Communists (until 1991)
Party of Democratic Reform (1991–93)
NCI (1993–96)
SDP (1996–2002)
SDU (2002–2013))
SDP (2014–)
Education University of Sarajevo (1977, M.Phil; 1985, Ph.D)
Religion Roman Catholicism

Ivo Komšić (born 16 June 1948) is a Bosnian doctor, professor, politician of the Social Democratic Union and the former mayor of Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was a key figure in the talks that led to the end of the Bosnian war with the Dayton Accords, and the formation of the Federation during the Bosnian War. He has been described as a "moderate" politician.

Early life[edit]

Komšić was born into a Roman Catholic Bosnian Croat family in the village Borina by Kiseljak, Bosnia and Herzegovina. When he was born, in 1948, the country was part of Yugoslavia.

Bosnian War[edit]

At the beginning of aggression on the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992, Komšić served temporarily as the Ministry of Defense as a volunteer and joined a humanitarian organization in Kiseljak.

Komšić joined the Party of Democratic Reform political party in March 1991, leaving it after co-founding the New Croatian Initiative on 12 April 1993 with a group of Croat intellectuals, shortly before the escalation of war in Central Bosnia.[1] This party created an alternative Croat policy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, opting for preservation of unified Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and coexistence of Croats with other nations in the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In November 1993 he became a member of Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency based on the result of 1990 elections.

He was a key figure in the formation of the Federation during the Bosnian War and the talks that led to the end of the Bosnian war with the Dayton Accords.[2]

Komšić has claimed that the nationalist Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HDZ BiH), the largest political party of Bosnian Croats derived from the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), founded by Croatian leader Franjo Tuđman, made its way into Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1990 through the parish system of the Catholic Church in Bosnia-Herzegovina.[3] Komšić contends that the Bosnian Catholic bishops and clergy made it possible for the HDZ to obtain electoral victory in Bosnia-Herzegovina, even though it was clear that the party's goal was the dismemberment of the republic, and its integration into neighboring Croatia.


Komšić led his political party the New Croatian Initiative for two years until October 1995, leaving the party the following year when he finished in second place in the 1996 election. He joined the Social Democratic Party following the loss. After another lost election in 2002, Komšić joined the Social Democratic Union.[4][5]

He was the chairman of the House of Peoples of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina between 2000 and 2002. Between 2006 and 2010 he was a representative in the House of Representatives of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 2010, he was named dean of the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Sarajevo.

Komšić has squabbled with Bosnian Serb nationalist politician Milorad Dodik on several occasions. When Dodik said that no politicians from the Republika Srpska (RS) entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina would participate in the then-upcoming centennial commemorations of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by Serb Gavrilo Princip, and that the commemorations were only going to be used as a ploy to incite hate against Serbs, Komšić responded by saying that Dodik has no say in what goes on in Sarajevo, and that he hoped that soon, Dodik wouldn't have any say in what goes on in RS either.[6] The French Embassy in Sarajevo dismissed the remarks made by Dodik about the planned events, saying the commemorations for meant to send a message of peace.[7]

Dodik is believed to have been behind the September 2014 installation of a giant unauthorized cross on the hill Zlatište on Mount Trebević overlooking Sarajevo.[8] Komšić accused him of installing the cross to improve his dropping political rating amongst Serbs in Republika Srpska before the upcoming election.[9] Komšić verbally condemned the installation of the cross. He urged Sarajevans to not respond to the "clear provocation that is part of the election campaign."[10]

Mayor of Sarajevo (2013–2017)[edit]

Komšić joined the 2013 JMBG protests in Sarajevo, saying “I am here also on behalf of over 1,500 Sarajevo babies who can’t get travel documents.”[11]

During the protests and riots throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina in February 2014, Komšić said that demolition of government buildings was not the answer. He stated that while he was aware that people had been brought to the social edge, he urged the public to clearly state their demands in a peaceful manner.[12]

When Pope Francis visited Bosnia and Herzegovina on 6 June 2015, Mayor Komšić awarded him the Keys to the City of Sarajevo award.[13][14]

Following the trial and guilty verdict of Serb war criminal Radovan Karadžić on 24 March 2016, Mayor Komšić stated that while it is important that the judgement confirmed Karadžić's direct responsibility for years of terror on Bosnia and Herzegovina, he is not satisfied with the 40-year sentence, saying Karadžić should have received the maximum due to the severity of the crimes.[15] Komšić wonders why the Tribunal decided to limit the genocide charge to Srebrenica only, as "Karadžić was responsible for atrocities across the country." He added, "If we take only Sarajevo into account, it would be more than enough for life imprisonment."[16]

Komšić has stressed his desire for his country to move past the violent events of the 20th century and "into the new era".[17]


  1. ^ "The A to Z of Bosnia and Herzegovina". Google Books. 8 April 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2016. 
  2. ^ "Divide and Fall?: Bosnia in the Annals of Partition". Google Books. 1999. Retrieved 26 March 2016. 
  3. ^ "Balkan Idols: Religion and Nationalism in Yugoslav States". Google Books. 2002. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  4. ^ "Political Handbook of the World 2015". Google Books. 24 March 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2016. 
  5. ^ "Ivo Komšić: Pomoći ću SOS Dječijem selu". Radio Sarajevo. 15 April 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2013. 
  6. ^ "Ivo Komšić vs Milorad Dodik". TV 1. 5 November 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  7. ^ "French embassy dismisses Dodik's accusations". Dalje. 19 April 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  8. ^ "Bosnian Serbs Erect Huge Cross Above Sarajevo". Balkan Insight. 22 September 2014. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  9. ^ "Krst je provokacija iza koje stoji Dodik jer gubi na izborima, građani neće nasjesti". Radio Sarajevo. 21 September 2014. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  10. ^ "Krst na Zlatištu je provokacija". Nezavisne. 22 September 2014. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  11. ^ "Thousands Blockade Bosnia Parliament To Protest". Huffington Post. 7 June 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  12. ^ "Policajci u Tuzli se pridružili prosvjednicima, u Mostaru zapaljena sjedišta nacionalističkih stranaka SDA i HDZ". Lupiga. 7 February 2014. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  13. ^ "The Award "Keys to the City of Sarajevo" to Pope Francis". Sarajevo Times. 30 April 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  14. ^ "Pope's visit – out of protocol". Balkan EU. 6 June 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  15. ^ "GRADONAČELNIK SARAJEVA IVO KOMŠIĆ 'Osuđen je za sve što se zbivalo tijekom više od 1400 dana opsade, ali trebao je dobiti doživotnu'". Jutarnji. 24 March 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  16. ^ "Condena de Karadzic abre profundas divisiones en Bosnia". El Universal. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  17. ^ "Politics of Identity in Post-Conflict States: The Bosnian and Irish Experience". Google Books. 2 December 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2016.