Pope Preparing for Trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina In June

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 21, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II received the members of the presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina in audience today, preparing for his visit to the country in late June.

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Present at the meeting were, Mirko Sarovic, current chairman of the presidency, and Dragan Covic and Sulejman Tíhic, the other two members of the collegial presidency.

During his visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Holy Father plans to beatify layman and intellectual Ivan Merz (1896-1928).

Following the audience, the members of the collegial presidency were received by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, and by the Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Jean Louis Tauran.

Since the 1995 Dayton Agreements, which ended the civil war, the Republic of former Yugoslavia is divided into two entities, each one with its own Parliament: the Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska.

The presidency is made up of three members: one Bosniak, one Croat, and one Serb. They are elected by popular vote for a four-year term. The member with the most votes becomes the chairman unless he or she was the incumbent chairman at the time of the election. The chairmanship rotates every eight months.

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