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The ultranationalists win the general elections in Serbia

The ultranationalists win the general elections in Serbia

22/01/2007 - Results

The ultranationalists of the Serb Radical Party (SRS) emerged as the winners of the general elections that took place in Serbia on 21st January. They won 28.7% of the vote (+ 1.1 point in comparison with the last elections on 28th December 2003). The SRS lies ahead of the two main pro-European democrat parties, the Democrat Party (DS) led by President of the Republic, Boris Tadic, who won 22.9% of the vote (+ 10,3 points) and the Serb Democratic Party (DSS), the party led by outgoing Prime Minister, Vojislav Kostunica, who won 16.7% of the vote (- 1 point).

Only three other parties reached the five percent threshold required to be represented in the National Assembly, the only Chamber in Parliament. These were G17 Plus, a member of the outgoing government coalition and led by Finance Minister, Mladjan Dinkic, who won 6.8% of the vote (- 4.7 points), the Serb Socialist Party (SPS) of former President, Slobodan Milosevic, led by Ivica Dacic 5.9% (- 1.7 point), and finally the Liberal Democrat Party (LDP) led by Cedomir Jovanovic, 5.3%.

The participation rate rose to 62% (- 3.3 points in comparison with the general elections on 28th December 2003).

"Although we had all the Prime Minister's and the President of the Republic's parties against us together with their uncouth campaigns we have shown our strength, we have won as expected. The Radical Party is the winner but we shall not have the opportunity of forming a government," declared the interim President of the Serb Radical Party, Tomislav Nikolic on the announcement of the initial results (the party is still officially led by Vojislav Seselj, former Deputy Prime Minister to Slobodan Milosevic, imprisoned in The Hague after his surrender in February 2003; he is accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia in The Hague). "We are now going to see how the two parties, the Democrat Party and the Serb Democrat Party will come together," he added.

Indeed the democratic forces will be forced to reach an agreement if they want to stop the ultra-nationalists coming to power. Since together they did not win an absolute majority necessary to govern they might form an alliance with G17 Plus in order to achieve parliamentary majority.

The outgoing Prime Minister is therefore will play the role of referee. Vojislav Kostunica who on several occasions has been called upon by the Democrat Party (DS) to promise not to govern with the Serb Radical Party, has always refused to answer these appeals and to say that he is planning to govern after the election. In addition to this he always clearly said in the electoral campaign that he wanted to stay in office if his party were to govern with the Democrat Party.

President of the Republic Boris Tadic said he was pleased with the democrat results. "Together the pro-European parties have won two thirds of the seats in Parliament. It is an extremely strong signal sent by Serbia to Europe and to the whole world," he declared adding, "the Democrat Party has positioned itself as leader within the democratic bloc and it will begin negotiations to form a coalition starting with a request for the position of Prime Minister. We are ready for a coalition with the Serb Democratic Party. We are the party extending the conciliatory hand."

"We are open and are expecting all the parties to be responsible," answered Vojislav Kostunica, who simultaneously also expressed his satisfaction with the result achieved by his party. "With regard to the government it is up to the President of the Republic to find a man who represents the parliamentary majority," he explained.

These general elections were followed closely by the international community since the UN special envoy for Kosovo, Martti Ahtisaari is to deliver his report on the future status of Kosovo on 26th January next to the contact group (Germany, USA, Italy, France, Russia and the UK). The German Chancellor Angela Merkel whose country took over the presidency of the EU on 1st January said on January 21st that she hoped the "democratic forces would emerge strengthened from these elections." For his part the Russian President, Vladimir Putin said that Moscow would reject the independence of Kosovo if Serbia was opposed to it.

The future of Kosovo evidently brings the two camps into conflict. "Kosovo belongs to Serbia and that is what any Serb politician would say today and tomorrow. I am expecting a principle: what they give to Kosovo they must give to Krajina and the Republika Srpska," (the Serb entity in Bosnia Herzegovina), stressed Tomislav Nikolic. For his part Boris Tadic and Vojislav Kostunica say they are prepared to accept greater autonomy for Kosovo.

The Foreign Ministers of the 27 member States of the EU are meeting on 22nd January to analyse amongst other matters the results of these general elections. "I very much hope that it will be possible to form a government with the pro-European democratic forces. The majority which emerges from these elections is one in favour of the democratic forces," declared Javier Solana, the High Representative for the EU's Common Security and Foreign Policy before the meeting.
Publishing Director: Pascale JOANNIN
The authors
Corinne Deloy
Author of the European Elections Monitor (EEM) for the Robert Schuman Foundation and project manager at the Institute for Political Studies (Sciences Po).
Fondation Robert Schuman
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