Bosnia-Herzegovina representatives begin four-year term

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina - Bosnia and Herzegovina has one of the most complex governing structures of any in the world.

And on Wednesday, the officials who will try to tackle the challenges the country faces took office - the new members of the House of Representatives, with 42 representatives representing no fewer than 12 political parties.

Sefik Caferovic, representing the largely Muslim Party of Democratic Action, was elected as president of the House of Representatives. 

Caferovic said in a statement that the body would focus over the next four years on revitalizing the economy, ensuring political stability and removing obstacles to integration.

Removing those obstacles could prove quite a challenge.

- Long siege

The country was riven in the 1990s by ethnic conflict between Serbs, Muslims and Croats - a war in which roughly 100,000 people are estimated to have died. 

The war included the siege of Sarajevo, which lasted nearly four years and was the longest military siege of any in the modern era.

It included the massacre by Serb forces of an estimated 8,000 men and boys in the village of Srebrenica.

In the end, the fighting was brought to an end by American-mediated negotiations which more or less left the battle lines in place, with the country divided into two essentially self-governing parts - the Republika Srpska, or Serb Republic and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

- Push to integrate

The two sectors are loosely tied in a federation that includes a three-person presidency, with one person from each ethnic group, the 15-seat National Assembly - and the 42-member House of Representatives which began its four-year term on Wednesday.

The new deputies were elected Oct. 12, then approved by the Central Election Commission.

One of Caferovic's assistants represents a Serb-dominated party; the other represents a Croatian-oriented party.

The largest party in the House is Caferovic's, which holds 10 of the 42 seats. No other party won more than six seats.

The European Union is pushing the country to integrate more fully if it wants to join the 28-member bloc.

Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency