Serbia's presidential election runoff is scheduled for May 20th, although the current ruling party will likely remain in power. Bloggers debate the results of the election.
By Bojana Milovanovic and Biljana Pekusic for Southeast European Times in Belgrade -- 12/05/12
Supporters of the Serbian Radical Party hold a picture of leader Vojislav Seselj in Nis. [Reuters]
It appears that after the elections of May 6th Serbia will have the same ruling structure, which will comprise the coalition gathered around Boris Tadic's Democratic Party and the coalition rallied around Ivica Dacic's Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS). Dacic's party, which doubled its performance from four years ago, netting nearly 16% of vote, has become key in deciding the formation of the future government.
The Socialists and the Democrats have agreed to continue their co-operation and Dacic has voiced his support for Tadic in the May 20th presidential runoff. With the Socialists' backing, both Tadic's victory in the presidential vote and a new mandate at the helm of the state are more certain.
However, Tomislav Nikolic's Serbian Progressive Party is hoping for its candidate's victory in the second round, since Tadic had less than 1% advantage in the first round.
Although Nikolic's Progressives will have the most MPs in the new parliament convocation -- six more than Tadic's Democrats -- it looks as though they will not manage to be part of the coalition. Bloggers have mixed opinions on the composition of the future government. Some think there is no better combination than the Democrats and Socialists, while some still cannot forget Dacic's ties to Slobodan Milosevic.
Others, such as blogger Sakis, would prefer Tadic's joining a coalition with Nikolic.
"It's hard for me to say this, but I hope Tadic and Toma will come to their senses and sweep away this evil that is SPS. If they really claim they're doing everything in the citizens' interests, then let that interest be satisfied and let Serbia be reconciled finally," Sakis writes on B92.
There are some, like a commentator calling himself Citizen of Mars from Mars, who are happy with Dacic's four-year stint as interior minister, which is why they claim his past and the fact that he used to be Milosevic's right hand man should be forgotten.
"What about SPS, Milosevic and other stuff? The government including that same SPS arrested Ratko Mladic and delivered him to The Hague, annulled visas, became an EU candidate, professionalised the army, negotiated with Kosovo … and you're still stubbornly spewing idiocy about Sloba and whatnot."
Analyst and blogger Milan Karagaca believes that "since there is no such thing as ideal, the coalition of the Democratic Party and the SPS, with Tadic as the president of the republic, is the best solution for Serbia."
"Of course, I personally have numerous objections to the work of both parties, but I'm convinced that they will fix many things in a stable government, foremost to cleanse themselves from compromised, corrupt and incompetent people," Karagaca wrote.
He said the new government must first do only what the previous ones haven't and should have done -- to deal in an uncompromising manner with crime and corruption and to review all previous privatisation deals.
"The best solution is the one that is good for Serbia and the people, rather than individual parties and coalitions," Karagaca said.
Right-wing parties fared poorly in the election, Voters gave the main opposition Serbian Radical Party and the ultraconservative movement Dveri less than the 5% of the vote, which is the minimum to enter parliament. Only the right-of-centre Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) of former Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica got 8% of the vote.
Dveri, however, issued a statement saying the elections were a fraud and announced a public protest calling on the other parties to join them. The police banned the protest saying it might disrupt traffic and endanger health, safety and property.
Nikolic joined Dveri's call Thursday (May 10th) and showed reporters a bag allegedly holding 3,000 ballots which he claimed were found in a garbage container, as proof of electoral fraud.
Most bloggers and analysts, however, argued such claims are an excuse for the poor election results as well as a form of political pressure before the presidential run-off.
"It is virtually impossible to commit fraud, especially if there are election monitors from all the parties at the polls," said Jovo Bakic, professor of philosophy in Belgrade.
Former Serbian Ambassador to France Predrag Simic argued the biggest loser is the Serbian Radical Party. "In the last elections it independently obtained the largest number of votes, and now it will not pass the minimum requirement."
Analyst Dejan Vuk Stankovic argued that "Dveri are significant losers too, [as] in their first try did not succeed to enter parliament," while the SPS failed too to get what it wanted.
"The Progressives did not succeed in articulating the dissatisfaction among the electorate, while the ruling Democratic Party received less votes than expected because it paid the political price for the crisis the society is in," Stankovic said.