Monday, January 22, 2007

Serbian 2007 Elections: Victory of the Pro-European Forces

On the Serbian parliamentary elections held yesterday 21st of January 2007 Pro-European political block won the majority of votes. The largest number of citizens voted for the Ex-Milosevic’s ally Serbian Radical Party but this party will not be in a position to form the new government, both because no party seems willing to ally with them (because of the international pressure) as well as they themselves publicly announced would not form a coalition with any of the parties that entered the Parliament, apart from the parties of national minorities and possibly the Socialist Party of Serbia.

The electoral results are the following: Serbian Radical Party won 81 seats, Democratic Party (of the Serbian President Boris Tadic) won 65, Democratic Party of Serbia (of the Serbian Prime Minister Kostunica) won 47, G 17 Plus 19, The Coalition led by the Liberal Democratic Party 15, ex-Milosevic’s Socialist Party of Serbia 16 and the parties of national minorities 7. In other words political parties that were in power during the ancien regime of Milosevic won 97 seats, while the parties that governed Serbia in the post-Milosevic period won 153 seat. In the parliamentary elections of 2003 this ratio was 104 vs. 146, while in the 2000 elections post-Milosevic parties won as much as 176 seats, leaving the parties of the ex-regime on meagre 74.

Bearing in mind the fact that Serbia is undergoing a painful (but arguably a rather successful) transition process, it is rather surprising even that the populist opposition parties did not win even more. As far as the governing coalition of the Prime Minister Kostunica is concerned they suffered a significant blow. Together (DSS, NS, G 17 and SPO) they won 66 seats (SPO 0 since they did not manage to cross the threshold of 5%), while after the 2003 elections they held 110 (They ruled in a position of a minority government thanks to the votes of ex-Milosevic’s party Socialist Party of Serbia). The biggest victor in these elections is the newly founded Liberal Democratic Party that together with its coalition partners managed to enter the Parliament and win 15 seats. This party is largely formed of the ex-members of the Democratic Party and together with the Democratic Party holds the claim over the political legacy of the late Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic. Democratic Party, the main-stream reformist, centre-left party of the Serbian President Boris Tadic is also a winner of these elections (the best result ever of this party) although their supporters, who hoped to win more in the elections, are left with a bitter (for them) perspective of having to deal with PM Kostunica’s Democrats for the formation of the new government.

There are several scenarios for the formation of the new government but two are the most likely:

1) The coalition of the DS, DSS-NS Coalition and the G 17 Plus is the most probable outcome, although it remains uncertain who will lead this coalition, the candidate of DS Bozidar Djelic, the current Serbian Prime Minister Kostunica, the leader of G 17 Plus Mladjan Dinkic or a neutral technocrat able to rally the abovementioned parties together. The Coalition grouped around the Liberal Democratic Party is unlikely to take part in the government, both because the Party of the Serbian Prime Minister is unready to cooperate with them and also because they are most likely to benefit from the coalition of DS and DSS in the long run. Some or all parties of the national minorities that managed to enter the Parliament will most probably take part in the new government.

2) All other coalitions are highly unlikely since they are likely to cause serious political damage to both DS and DSS. According to the Serbian Constitution (article 109) if the aforementioned block of parties does not manage to make an agreement on the formation of the new government in three month, Serbia will have the new elections. The entire Pro-European block will not profit from the new elections, both because of the possible negative outcome of the future Kosovo status negotiation as well as because of the dissatisfaction of the voters with their inability to reach an agreement. So the two Democratic parties must reach an agreement, the sooner the better for Serbia and its citizens.

No comments: