Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Serbia: Socialists and pro-European forces eye coalition

Belgrade, 23 June (AKI) - The Socialist Party of Serbia, which holds the key to any new government, says it has realigned with President Boris Tadic’s pro-European coalition.

Socialist Party leader Ivica Dacic said he had reached an agreement in principle with Tadic at the weekend on forming a new government.

Dacic said the two parties agreed on the distribution of cabinet posts and a new government could be formed by the end of the week.

The move followed a month of talks that Dacic had ended with Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica’s centre-right Democratic Party of Serbia and the ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party.

Tadic’s coalition won 102 seats in the 250-seat parliament in the 11 May election, but couldn’t form a majority without the support of the Socialists.

The Democrats have demonised the Socialists for years as the source of all Serbia's evils and blamed them for the 1990s Balkan wars.

Serbian analysts and the media have said the deal between Dacic and Tadic was an “unnatural marriage” but Tadic claimed the Socialists had reformed and were acceptable as a coalition partner.

European Union officials encouraged Dacic to join Tadic’s camp, vowing to help them to join the Socialist International, which rallies some 160 leftist parties worldwide.

However, some Socialists are uncomfortable with the fact that the Democrats arrested former party and Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic and presented him for trial at the United Nations' war crimes tribunal.

Milosevic died in the Hague-based court's prison wing in March 2006, shortly before he was due to be sentenced.

Kostunica’s spokesman Andreja Mladenovic said his party would go into opposition, vowing that “those who form the government will not have an easy job”.

Kostunica split with Tadic after majority ethnic Albanians in the breakaway Kosovo province declared independence last February with the support of western powers.

Kostunica argues that Serbia cannot join the EU and NATO unless Kosovo remains within its borders.

The US Ambassador to Belgrade Cameron Munter and his British colleague Steven Wordsworth have been playing an active role in the talks to form a new government, prompting speculation that their influence is crucial in swaying Dacic to Tadic’s camp.

1 comment:

Arius said...

Lets be blunt about it. The US and EU have greased the palms of the Socialist Party to switch to Tadic's (un)Democrats. Its easy to be a traitor to your own people when you get rich off it.