The political situation in Serbia is both unprecedented and unexpected. No analyst had predicted, three or four months ago, that the election on May 11 would result in such impressive gains by the Democratic Party (Demokratska stranka, DS)—which won over 38 percent of the vote—and in a relative defeat for the Radicals (Srpska radikalna stranka, SRS), which polled 29 percent. The most surprising feature of Serbia’s post-election scene in the formation of the new governing coalition, based on an alliance between the “pro-Western, reformist” Democrats and the Socialists (Socijalisticka partija Srbije, SPS), the party of the late President Slobodan Milosevic.
For the past almost eight years since the fall of Milosevic, the Democrats and their allies have been demonizing the Socialist Party as an ugly relic of the past, the party that provided the political backbone to Milosevic and his regime, the obedient mechanism for all of his misguided and possibly criminal policies in the 1990s. One of the members of the present DS-led coalition, a separatist from Vojvodina by the name of Nenad Canak, has even advocated a formal ban on the Socialist Party.
But the Democrats have made a complete U-turn since May 11, having realized that they need the Socialists—who together with their smaller allies have 20 deputies—in order to stay in power. Over the past six weeks some extensive horse-trading followed that realization. Legitimizing the Socialists, proclaiming them to be a modern, decent, pro-European center-left party, fit for membership in the Socialist International, is merely one part of the package offered by the DS. Overall, the coalition agreement is the fruit of a massive exercise in political corruption, the like of which has never been seen in Serbia’s long and turbulent history........Read the Rest at Chronicles