More than a week since his victory, Serbia President-elect Tomislav Nikolic is still sparking controversial views.
By Bojana Milovanovic for Southeast European Times from Belgrade -- 02/06/12
Serbia's President Tomislav Nikolic was sworn in on Thursday (May 31st). [Nikola Barbutov/SETimes]
Even as he was sworn in as Serbia president on Thursday (May 31st), Tomislav Nikolic's victory is still stirring up a great deal of public controversy. Some said that because of the extremely poor economic situation, any kind of change is welcome, while some -- recalling Nikolic's past and his extreme nationalism -- voice doubt as to whether he will continue Serbia's European path and regional co-operation.
"Serbia has turned into an extremely unstable country, so it seems sort of logical that an unstable person has been elected as its president," author Svetislav Basara writes in his column in the daily Danas.
Analysts think the election outcome was determined by the poor turnout.
Svetlana Logar, from the polling agency Ipsos Strategic Marketing, said that by the low turnout and by casting invalid ballots, voters expressed their opinion of the candidates.
"Some will say the citizens were lazy and did not turn out in the election. The question is, however, why they were lazy? I'd say they simply didn't like the [choices]," Logar told SETimes.
Rasim Ljajic, head of the Social Democratic Party of Serbia and Boris Tadic's coalition partner, said that the former president had been "sacrificed" and paid the price for all of the citizens' dissatisfaction with the state of the economy.
"The one who is the least to blame, who worked the hardest and did his job the best he could in given circumstances and severe crisis, was left with the bag," Ljajic told SETimes.
Ljajic still finds Nikolic's victory a surprise, since Tadic had at least a minimal advantage in the first round, while in the second round he was backed by the majority of parties.
"The parties' support was apparently only verbal and failed to materialise," Ljajic said.
The debate has also been heating up the blogosphere.
Vladimir is not happy with the image Serbia has sent to the world with the election of Nikolic. "Now we have shown everyone in the region that we really are what we didn't believe -- primitives."
Blogger anonimus is not pleased with Nikolic's European orientation. "Serbia needs a president who acts on behalf Serbia, for Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohia. Not like this, [with the EU] ordering us. We should have a good relationship with the EU, with Russia and all other countries," she wrote.
But some think that Nikolic could lead Serbia, just as he led his party. "In only three and a half years Nikolic has created a miracle: a strong, stable and prosperous party," progressive said.
But some are just not willing to accept the new leader. "You are not my president, nor will you ever be," Vladica said.