Serbian "coalition of nationalists" form new govt

By bne IntelliNews July 11, 2012

bne -

Three Serbian parties signed on Tuesday, July 10 a coalition deal to form a new government after almost two months of negotiations, which is expected to be sworn in by July 24.

The agreement between the Serbian Progressive Party of President Tomislav Nikolic, which narrowly won the parliamentary elections in May, the Socialist Party of Serbia and United Regions of Serbia will result in a cabinet led by Prime Minister-designate Ivica Dacic of the Socialist Party.

Dacic's Socialist Party had been expected to team up with the former governing party the Democratic Party (led by former President Boris Tadic), but the Democratic Party leadership would not accept Dacic's demands for the position of prime minister.

Perceived as a coalition of nationalists, some of whom were in the former dictator Slobodan Milosevic's government of the 1990s, the coalition is being viewed warily by Serbia's neighbours, the EU and the US. Indeed, Serbian media reported that the US distrusted Dacic and that US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Philip Reeker had made a visit to Belgrade to lobby for a coalition of Nikolic's Progressive Party and Tadic's Democratic Party. The official US explanation for Reeker's visit to Belgrade, however, was that it was routine with no specific objective.

"The composition of the new coalition may give the US, EU and Serbia's neighbours cause for concern, yet it is unlikely there will be any significant change in Serbia. Even if there are those in Serbian government circles with nationalist inclinations, the new coalition inherits a plethora of political, economic, and social problems that will limit its room for manoeuvre on domestic and regional issues," notes IHS Global Insight.

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