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Serbia’s Socialist Party said it agreed with the Democratic Party of Boris Tadic to work to create a coalition government after parliamentary elections last weekend.
The Socialists, who ranked third in the May 6 elections, will also support Tadic in a presidential runoff on May 20, Branko Ruzic, chairman of the Socialist Party’s executive board, said today by phone. Detailed discussions on other partners to be included in a new government will take place after the outcome of the presidential ballot is known, Tadic’s party said today in a statement.
“An agreement has been reached, in line with our previous cooperation, that we will continue to work together to try and form a new majority in parliament and support Boris Tadic in the second round of presidential elections,” Ruzic said.
As governments from Ireland to Italy fall in a wave of anger over austerity, the Serb election took place as French President Nicolas Sarkozy was ousted and Greece’s vote ended in a deadlock. Serbs are split between Tadic’s bid for European Union entry and the Progressive Party’s Tomislav Nikolic’s nationalist rhetoric about the nation’s claim on Kosovo two decades after Yugoslavia broke up and his rejection of cuts needed to keep fiscal policies in line with EU demands.
The Progressives took 24 percent of the vote for parliament, followed by the Democrats with 22.1 percent and the Socialists, once led by Slobodan Milosevic, with 14.5 percent, according to the Electoral Commission. Together the Democrats and Socialists will have 111 of the legislature’s 250 seats. Potential partners include the Liberal Democrats, which took 20 seats, the United Regions of Serbia Party with 16 seats.
The Democrats will wait until the second round of a presidential election is over to begin talks with the Liberal Democrats and the United Regions of Serbia, the Tanjug newswire reported today, quoting the party’s vice president Dragan Sutanovac.
“The third partner will be a matter of talks,” Ruzic said, adding that it was up to the Democratic Party to pick future members of the coalition to give it a majority in parliament. Partners must agree on joint goals including policies on Kosovo and relations with the Bosnian Serb Republic, he added.
The Liberal Democrats have called on politicians to acknowledge the reality of Kosovo, the former Serbian province that unilaterally declared independence in 2008 and has been recognized by 90 states, including 22 EU members. Serbia refuses to recognize Kosovo’s independence though closer ties with its former province remain the top condition for Belgrade to win the date for the start of EU membership talks.
Tadic, who won Serbia’s candidacy for EU entry on March 1 and was running for a third term in concurrent presidential elections, won 26.8 percent in the first round. He will face off against Nikolic, who ranked second with a 25.6 percent of all votes last Sunday.
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