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Elections in Serbia

The first preliminary results of the Serbian parliamentary poll arrived less than an hour after the ballots closed at 20:00 on January 21. Some started celebration while members of the parties that got less than the required 5 percent of the votes burst into despair. The Democratic Party (whose slogan is “Because life can’t wait”) lost in its stronghold, the capital city of Belgrade. The Serbian Radical Party (“50% + your vote”) didn’t win more than 50 percent of the vote, which would have enabled them to rule the country. The ruling coalition led by prime minister Vojislav Kostunica (and inspired by the slogan “Long live Serbia”) won fewer votes than in the previous election.

Jelica Grgenovic calls in with the first preliminary results during the election night (SRP):

[…] Here you are, Cesid has announced [the first results at] 21:55. Still, votes in major cities have to be counted, which could improve the results of [self-proclaimed] democratic parties. But at the end, it will not have a major impact on the overall result. [60 percent of the votes have been counted], the result would be as follows: SRS (28,5%), DS (22,9%), DSS (17%), G17+ (6,5%), SPS (6,1%) and the coalition gathered around LDP (5,0%) […].

Dule Nedeljkovic sparks up a dilemma. Will the current PM and the president agree about the Prime Minister position? He states (SRP):

[…] I foresee new elections. There is no chance to have [Vojislav] Kostunica and [Boris] Tadic agree about PM position. That is at least what I think. […]

Aleksandra Mitrovic replies:

I can’t really understand how they are not ashamed to organize elections over and over again, to spend enormous amounts of money, especially when we have the same people with identical stories. They all rotate political functions, outcome doesn’t change. It would be interesting to check how expensive every election campaign has been. I would sum up the money. One could realize it would be better to spend that money on pensions, improvement of social care and other necessary things… it is sad to hear about all the wasted money. The majority of my friends from Serbia hope I will change my mind and get beck to my home country …but… I would not like to be ruled by these creatures. I can’t see any reason for celebration… […]

Manitu adds:

[…] of course – the same crew will stay on the scene! It was the same since [1992], with small variations – when somebody dies – or when somebody steps in by purchasing votes. Same faces, same capacity, well-known ranges, modest references. That is problem. The voters and citizens are just for decor's sake. Politics is a bureau for unemployed, an asset for quasi-privatization, and different lucrative acts. […]

Jelena Krajsic hopes the aliens would arrive soon (SRP):

For a long time and especially since the preliminary poll results, I am waiting for the aliens from planet Volcanoes. It would make us, people from the earth, finally united. I hope our visitors would want to share their technological achievements with us. I expect Phoenix to fly before Serbia becomes member of the EU. My other expectation is to have Enterprise boldly, take the crew where no man has gone before just after that. Stephen Hawking stated in December for BBC radio that we would have to populate planets within other solar systems, “traveling there using Star Trek-style propulsion, or face extinction.” This all is required not because bad moves of some governments but because we will be torn apart by meteor/asteroid/comet/some whatever rock or be swallowed by black hole. Still, moves made by some governments could trigger some dangerous events for all humans such are nuclear wars, viruses or global warming. That is why we have to think about the words of the British cosmologists. I think about his statement not because all of these reasons but because of the election results in my problematic country. […] If nothing else, I suggest we all join and become candidates for the next elections.

Branislav Kovacevic Cole was a candidate of the Liberal Democratic Party for the Serbian parliament. He is a bit disappointed with the election results, as there are small chances something will change (SRP):

Fears of the democratic Serbia of having a “status quo” are more or less a reality, our expectations are confirmed… National block, whatever this means, has a strong position, I would say century-strong, within the majority of Serbian population. On the other hand, reformists, and the ones who want to modernize Serbia, are marginalized and considered obsolete.

There are numerous reasons that would explain the stage of the current spirit [of the nation]. Europe and the world will say that the situation in Serbia is improving, that the election got through with not so many irregularities, that the media were more or less just towards all the parties, especially when compared with what we had during the [Slobodan] Milosevic era. [Vojislav] Kostunica lost some support of voters, but he retained power, [Boris] Tadic received more votes compared to the last election, but he didn’t get the power… I assume, the following days or months will be marked by bargaining [negotiations] of [Vojislav Kostunica and Boris Tadic] followed by enormous pressure by the international community to make them agree [about the new government] and escape the new election situation. [Vojislav] Kostunica will back off where he has to, he will give everything for the PM chair, he might [even] sacrifice [justice minister] […] and some other [high-profile ministers] but he will keep [Velimir Ilic and Dragan Jocic]. [Boris] Tadic would have to agree to get [his man] as minister of defense, while [Mladjan] Dinkic of G-17+ and [Bozidar Djelic of DS will bargain about the ministry of finance and the Central Bank. [Liberal Democratic Party] will be the radical opposition. The first challenge this government will have to face would be adopting the new budget, which would make [a hard start], considering additional Kosovo [and Metohia] and human resources issues. […]

James Lyon looks at the Serbian politics from a distance. His point of view enables him to see how things really stand:

[…] The Serbian election result is anything but clear. There is a significant chance that a government may not be formed within the 90-day statutory limit, thereby triggering new elections. If a government is formed it may be a minority government with a Premier from the DS (possibly Djelic) in coalition with G17+ and LDP, with support from DSS. It appears that Kostunica will participate in a majority government with DS only if he is named Premier, and then only without the participation of the LDP. It is quite probable that the minority parties will go into coalition with whoever forms a government. At present the parties are just beginning to assess their initial positions and post-election results and rumours are running rampant. One important point of interest: for the first time ever the DS did poorly in their traditional stronghold of Belgrade, with more people voting for the Radicals than for the DS. Does anyone in the DS realise how serious this is?

[…] There is strong international pressure on the parties to form a government, which is resulting in an awkward Catch 22. The International Community (IC) wants Serbia to form a government so that the IC can move forward with Kosovo status, while the Serbian parties want the IC to move forward with Kosovo status so that they can form a government.

[…] The term “democratic” block is a misnomer and creates an inaccurate representation of political life, as all the parties are “democratic” to one degree or another. There are in fact two blocks in Serbian politics. The first is comprised of pro-western parties that favour liberal democracy. The second is anti-western parties that favour a paternalistic authoritarian Russian-style of “democracy”. The first block is comprised of DS, G17+ and LDP. The second block is made up of DSS, SRS and SPS.

[…] Many people ask what the difference is between the DSS and the SRS. As nearly as I can tell, the only significant ideological difference is that while the SRS still claims Croatia and Bosnia for a Greater Serbia, the DSS wants only Bosnia and has dropped Croatia from the list. In all other respects they appear to be ideologically and philosophically identical. It seems that there are only two reasons that they are not joined together as one party. First is Seselj’s personality. Second is snobbishness: the SRS is comprised primarily of the lumpenproletariat and refugees, while the DSS is primarily pseudo-intellectuals and middle class. Although both think alike, they wouldn’t be caught dead at the same parties or slavas. In other words, the main difference between the SRS and the DSS is one of social class distinction. […]

In his blog, Chris Farmer architects a new ruling system for Serbia:

[…] we also have to make up a whole bunch of new ministries to employ all the different ministerial candidates from all three parties of all three PMs. The usual ministries can be assigned on the basis of a Lucky Draw and the rest can choose from a list of new ministries: Ministry of Fiction, Ministry of Unusual Occurrences, Ministry of Obstruction, Ministry of Branding, Ministry of Potato Pie and Sarma, and a few other HUGELY important ministries that we have been missing all these years. I for one would like to nominate myself for Minister of Parking – about which I have a few things to say.

Once all this is done – and I am shooting for Wednesday afternoon at 15.30 – life can get back to normal here in Serbia and in the White City.

When Carla [Del Ponte] comes to call, asking about [Ratko] Mladic, the Three Prime Ministers will give her three prime answers. When foreign dignitaries fly in for a visit, they will get THREE ceremonial lunches and go home drunker than they have ever been before. And when the International Donors show up, they will be treated to a chorus of, “Yes, we have no bananas!” from all three. No one who visits Serbia from abroad will go away disappointed as someone will always tell him what he wants to hear.

As an alternative, and as a way to keep us free of further bothering with elections for the foreseeable future, we could propose a government with 20 Prime Ministers. But that might be stretching the point a little…

1 comment

  • […] written mostly about Serbian politics, such as Kosovo's of independence or last january's presidential elections. But he has also introduced blogs from his home town (Kragujevac, in Serbia), has written about the […]

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