Edin Forto was elected as the new party leader of Naša Stranka, ALDE member party in Bosnia Herzegovina, as delegates gathered for an electoral congress on 4 September in the capital Sarajevo.
Mr Forto, who is the current Prime Minister of Canton Sarajevo, was elected overwhelmingly by delegates and assumes the role from Predrag Kojović who led the party since May 2015 and represents the party in the House of Representatives.
In his acceptance speech to the Congress, Mr Forto thanked delegates and said: "Nationalist policies in power, but also where they are in opposition, spread apathy and pessimism. Their goal is to put all politicians in the same basket with themselves. If they succeed in their intention, if political apathy reigns, they are the ones who will win again. We must not allow them to do that, because we are not all the same.”
“We fight that every man, regardless of religious, national, gender, sexual and class difference, cannot be subjected to harassment and insecurity. All citizens must have the same rights.”
Earlier in the day, Mr Kojović said: “Working together, diligently and smartly, in the past six years we have achieved what few thought was possible. We are parliamentary at all levels of government: we have over 30 councillors, eight cantonal deputies, six federal parliamentarians, we are also present in the federal House of Peoples.”
"We are facing a new stage in our mission to change our country,” he continued. “I am confident that Forto and his team will lead us to successes we may not even dream of now. Of course, neither Forto nor his team will be able to do this without you. That is why I call on you to be the strongest team again and to start a decisive political battle together in 2022 under his leadership.”
Numerous international guests were present at the Congress, including ALDE Party acting co-President Ilhan Kyuchyuk MEP. In his address to the Congress, he praised the progression of Nasa Stranka and its longstanding cooperation with ALDE and its member parties. He added: “The future of Bosnia and Herzegovina will rely on those political forces that work to delivery hope and prosperity to their citizens. We are delighted to associate ourselves with our partners Naša Stranka as they drive this agenda.”
. @ilhankyuchyuk at #NašaStranka #Kongres: “The future of Bosnia and Herzegovina will rely on those political forces that work to delivery hope and prosperity to their citizens. We are delighted to associate ourselves with our partners Nasa Stranka as they drive this agenda” pic.twitter.com/q42xBxKFZ2— ALDE Party (@ALDEParty) September 4, 2021
Fellow ALDE Party Vice Presidents Alexander Graf Lambsdorff (FDP), Annelou van Egmond (D66) and Henrik Bach Mortensen (Venstre) also delivered video messages. Onsite speeches were also delivered by representatives of LYMEC, LIBSEEN, Liberal International, VVD, Centerpartiet, MR, OpenVLD and NEOS. You can rewatch all of the international interventions here (from 35:35).
The party also adopted its Program Declaration, in which the party's commitment to Euro-Atlantic integration was further emphasised: "We stand for BiH's membership in the European Union as a guarantor of the country's economic recovery and for NATO integration, which will eliminate the possibility of new wars and create prospects for lasting and stable peace."
Naša Stranka joined the ALDE Party in 2016 and has been a full member since 2019.