Serb parliament prepares to vote in new cabinet by end-week

By bne IntelliNews August 27, 2013

The Serbian government on Tuesday, August 27, completed the debate on the amendments to the law on the cabinet ministries that will allow the two governing partners – Serbia Progressive Party (SNS) and the Socialist SPS, to wrap up the long-awaited government reshuffle by the end of the month, news agency Beta reported.

The MPs are expected to vote in the amended law on Wednesday, August 28, while the debates on the appointments of the new ministers are announced for Friday or Saturday, the report said.

Under the reshuffle, the SNS leader and deputy PM Aleksandar Vucic has agreed to oust finance and economy minister Mladjan Dinkic and his URS party – as proposed by SPS and its leader PM Ivica Dacic who refused to take part in a future coalition together with Dinkic. Vucic’s agreement with Dacic thus prevented the government collapse and the calling of early elections only a year after the previous ones.

Earlier this week, however, Vucic announced that the reformed government will continue to cooperate with Dinkic who will be a deputy head of the state committee for cooperation with the United Arab Emirates. Vucic, who will head the committee, said that Dinkic was nominated for the post by the cabinet (including by PM Dacic) but upon a request of the UAE officials.

Serbia managed to agree and start implementing vital contracts with the UAE, including the strategic partnership between air carriers Etihad and Jat Airways, as well as major agriculture and IT projects, during the mandate of Dinkic as a minister.

Following his dismissal, however, the ministry will be split into two separate ones, which is the main characteristic of the reshuffled government. Moreover, the coalition partners have said they aim to better adapt and serve to Serbia’s new priorities via the reshuffle – which are boosting economic growth and employment – now that the country managed to improve its relations with Kosovo and receive the green light for starting EU accession talks in January 2014.

The new finance ministry will be headed by young Yale-graduate and McKinsey consultant Lazar Krstic, who is returning to Serbia from the US to take over the post. Krstic graduated mathematics, economy, politics and ethics at the Yale University in 2007 and joined McKinsey in 2008. He is 29 years old and reportedly considers the unemployment, the lack of tax discipline, the complicated procedures and the corruption as Serbia's biggest challenges.

His nomination is filed by Vucic’s SNS party. The party also revealed earlier this week its nomination for a new economy minister – Sasa Radulovic. Radulovic is an economic consultant with a university degree in electrical engineering and electronics. According to media reports, he has been living in Germany, Canada and the US after leaving Serbia at the end of the 1980s. He used to head several private companies during the Silicon Valley boom, news agency Tanjug reports.

Radulovic returned to Serbia in 2005 as a bankruptcy receiver at various companies and an owner of E-Market. He has been also writing publications explaining the economic and financial situation in the country. According to him, the disastrous tax policy, the gray economy, the big role of the state on the market, the corruption and legal uncertainty are the main reasons for Serbia’s wrong economic policy in the past 12 years.

The SNS party is also nominating Dragan Glamocic for a new agriculture minister, Nebojsa Rodic for defence minister and Igor Mirovic for regional development minister. It has not announced yet the name of the new education minister.

In the meantime, Dacic’s SPS has not yet revealed the nominations of the new ministers under its control, including infrastructure, culture and sports.

New Serb cabinet (names of new ministers in bold)
Ministry Minister Party
Interior Ivica Dacic SPS
Foreign Ivan Mrkic SNS-nominated
Finance Lazar Krstic SNS-nominated
Defence Nebojsa Rodic SNS
Regional Development Igor Mirovic SNS
Economy Sasa Radulovic SNS-nominated
Transport undecided SPS
Construction and Urbanism Velimir Ilic SPS
Justice Nikola Selakovic SNS
Agriculture Dragan Glamocic SNS-nominated
Education undecided SNS
Health Slavica Djukic-Dejanovic SPS
Energy Zorana Mihajlovic SNS
Culture undecided SPS
Natural Resources, Mining Milan Bacevic SNS
Labour Jovan Krkobabic PUPS
Youth and Sports undecided SPS
Trade, Telecommunications Rasim Ljajic SDP
Source: Serb media

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