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Bosnia Cabinet Confirmed After Six-Month Wait

FILE - For the first time in a decade, the party of Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik — who is shown shaking hands with a supporters on the day of elections last October — is not a part of the central government.

Bosnia's national parliament on Tuesday approved a long-awaited central cabinet that the European Union expects to pursue economic reforms to revive a stalled bid to join the bloc.

The nine-member Council of Ministers from six parties in the ruling coalition was confirmed nearly six months after Bosnians voted in a general election.

Bickering over division of power and jobs has slowed the formation of governments at various levels of Bosnia's highly decentralized and unwieldy power-sharing system created after a 1992-95 war.

Lawmakers in the 42-seat national parliament backed the government headed by Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic, a former architecture professor. Twenty-six voted in favor, seven against and one abstained.

Deputies of two Bosnian Serb parties boycotted the session after their request to discuss charges against the speaker of the chamber was dismissed.

For the first time in a decade, the party of Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, president of Bosnia's autonomous Serb Republic, finds itself left out of the central government. A bloc of smaller Bosnian Serb parties entered instead.

Dodik, who frequently questions Bosnia's viability as a state, has previously stood accused of blocking progress at the national level.

In February, Bosnian lawmakers backed a written commitment to pursue economic reform and address political divisions in accordance with a new initiative launched by Germany and Britain and adopted by the European Union, designed to shake the country out of years of stagnation.

The declaration was a condition for the EU's endorsement of a pre-accession pact with Bosnia, originally signed in 2008. The exact reform path has yet to be defined.