Intelligence Brief: Serbia Avoids Early Elections Yet Remains Unstable

Posted in Europe | 16-May-07

On May 14, Serbian President Boris Tadic announced that a deal had been struck to form a democratic-reformist government in Serbia, avoiding early elections. As PINR explained on May 10, early elections would have been called if the parliament had proved unable to form a government by May 15. [See: "Intelligence Brief: Serbian Nationalists Consolidate Influence"]

Tadic's attempt to break the political impasse required the decisive support of incumbent Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica. Despite the fact that Kostunica had backed the ultra-nationalist Tomislav Nikolic only one week before, in the end he provided support to Tadic.

The European Union greeted the breakthrough and expressed optimism for the return of pro-European reformist policies in Belgrade. For Brussels, a Serbia led by a social-nationalist bloc would significantly complicate the integration of the western Balkan countries.

The stability of the new government, however, remains in doubt. The consolidation of a social-nationalist bloc is evident in Serbia's fragmented political landscape, and geopolitical issues will likely open new windows of political opportunity for anti-European factions.

The Kosovo question remains at the forefront. Avoiding early elections and preventing the rise of the ultra-nationalist Nikolic in Serbia will galvanize Kosovo's nationalists, who seek independence. It will also give more confidence to U.S. and E.U. diplomats, who are engaging in high-level meetings with Russia, to support a smooth transition in Kosovo.

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