Ultranationalist Party Finds Success in Serbian Election
Monday, January 22, 2007
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The extreme nationalist Serbian Radical Party (SRS) received the largest portion of votes in the country’s parliamentary elections on Sunday. Winning 28% of the overall votes, the Radical Party beat President Boris Tadic’s Democratic Party (which received 23% of the vote) and Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica’s Democratic Party of Serbia (with 16%). However, because the SRS did not receive a majority of the vote it will not be asked to form a government; instead, a coalition between the pro-Western liberal political parties is expected.
The SRS opposes autonomy for Kosovo and the large support the party received indicates “that any Serbian acceptance of a U.N. Kosovo plan will be difficult and will likely be delayed until a new government is formed.” (AP) Both the President and Prime Minister’s democratic parties prefer giving autonomy to a Kosovo that is still within Serbia, but, “unlike the Radicals…have pledged to resolve the Kosovo crisis by peaceful means.” (AP) The liberal parties also wish to build closer ties to the West and may eventually apply for EU membership.
It is unclear who will hold the position of Prime Minister of the new parliament but one analyst said “the president will have to find a man who will be able to get a majority;” current Prime Minister Kostunica has not said whether he will seek the post out again, nor gave any indication of which parties he would attempt to align with.
Despite getting the most votes, no major parties are expected to enter into a coalition with the SRS, leaving it “on the sidelines whilst more moderate parties struggle with Serbia's many challenges.”