Early elections could endanger Serbian path to EU

Early elections could endanger Serbian path to EU


Belgrade by Milos Mitrovic

Serbia is not in the need of general elections at this moment. This is the position of the ruling coalition government, but also some of the opposition parties share the same stance. According to the representatives of the ruling parties, the resolution of the problems in the national economy should be in priority – and the majority of the Parliament supports this view.

Rasim Ljajic, Minister of Trade and leader of the Socialdemocratic Party of Serbia (SDPS) stated that “the worst thing that could happen at this moment for the country is to go to elections or a government reshuffling”. Such a political attitude may have a negative impact on ‘’meeting the targets’’ (regarding the country’s way towards its membership in the European Union) and also the resolution of the major economic issues.

However, Ljajic went further to argue that “We have to decide what we are going to do. If we want to reshuffle the cabinet, it is legitimate, but we should do it as soon as possible”.

Vlada Ilic member of the United Regions of Serbia (URS) – another of the coalition government parties – shares the same opinion with Ljajic that elections could be harmful at this point. According to him ‘’early election is an unnecessary waste of money, bearing in mind the current Serbian budget’’.

Branko Ruzic, member of Parliament from the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), the leader of which is the Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, stressed that one cannot make “a key move in the middle of such an important step” (referring to current negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina and Serbian expectations to get the date from Brussels for starting EU accession negotiations, which is closely related with the former).

“We should consider this (elections) with the representatives of our coalition government partners, since the President is concerned with the intentions of state leadership and the Government regarding the unification of the country with the EU”, Ruzic said, according to National Television of Serbia (RTS). The Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic earlier this week stated that if negotiations with Pristina fail, the issue of elections could come into the fore. Nikolic argued that some of the solutions for Kosovo could endanger the Serbian EU perspective but Belgrade should try to achieve both aims, in accordance with the Serbian national interests. “It is impossible (for Serbia) to make a choice between EU and Kosovo”, Nikolic concluded.

Some representatives of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) which is the pillar of the ruling coalition government, have recently argued that, instead of Ivica Dacic, Prime Minister should be Aleksandar Vucic, leader on SNS and incumbent Deputy Prime Minister. However, Vucic said that there would be no changes at the top, while a reshuffle of the cabinet is more likely to take place.

The Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS), whose leader is the former Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, expects the failure of negotiations with Pristina, because this would be “in the interest of Serbia”. DSS Spokesperson Petar Petkovic said. “After that (failure), we should go to early elections, and the new Government and Parliament should stop the country’s agony for the European unification and create a new policy, based on the circumstances and national interests”, Petkovic said.