Socialist Party emerges as kingmaker after Serbia's May 6 general election.

By bne IntelliNews May 8, 2012
The Socialist Party (SPS) of former ex-Yugoslavia strongman Slobodan Milosevic will play a key role in the formation of Serbia's next government after performing better than expected in the May 6 elections. The two stronger rival parties in the country - the governing Democratic Party (DS) of incumbent president Boris Tadic and the opposition Serbia Progressive Party (SNS) of former nationalist Tomislav Nikolic - have failed to gain enough votes to be able to form a cabinet alone. Tadic's DS emerged weaker than Nikolic's SNS following the elections. In a parallel presidential vote held on May 6, however, Tadic came just ahead of Nikolic and the two will face a tight run-off on May 20. SPS leader Ivica Dacic, who serves as an interior minister in the incumbent government, has already indicated he would first hold talks on the formation of the cabinet with DS. SPS, who also played the role of kingmaker in the previous election in 2008, is a junior coalition partner in the current DS-led government. Serbia's electoral commission has announced that the SNS-led coalition has received 24% of the May 6 vote, or 73 seats in the 250-seated parliament, while the DS-led coalition has won 22.07%, or 67 seats, daily Politika reported. Third came the Socialist-led coalition, which attracted 14.54% of the vote, or 44 seats. The results are based on 97.51% of all cast ballots as the remainder is still being processed. The commission should announce final results by May 10. The Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) of former Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica comes next with 7%, or 21 seats. The Liberal Democrats (LDP) of Cedomir Jovanovic grabbed 6.53% support (20 seats). In a future cabinet, DSS is expected to support SNS, while the Liberals would go for Tadic's DS. The only other party that passed above the 5%-treshold is the party of Mladjan Dinkic, who served as an economy minister in the incumbent cabinet. His United Regions of Serbia party (URS) took 5.51% of the vote, or 16 seats. Analysts expect that the policy of the new cabinet, regardless of its composition, will hardly be any different from the current one. Pro-European Tadic led Serbia to its granting of an EU candidate status on March 1, 2012. Nikolic, on the other hand, turned to a strong supporter of Serbia's EU path after leaving the Radical Party in 2008 and establishing SNS. Both SNS and DS stated they would fight to boost Serbia's further EU progress as well as to continue the country's funding programmes with the IMF and other international lenders.

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