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Books on Serbia


Key Economic Data
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $
GNI per capita
 US $ 106
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Update No: 132 - (01/06/08)

Inconclusive result to parliamentary elections
Serbia is at the crossroads all right, which means so are the Balkans. All eyes in the region are on Belgrade.

The final vote count in Serbia's divisive parliamentary election, held on May11, confirmed on May 21 that pro-European parties won the most seats in the future legislature, but not enough to govern alone. The nationalists, indeed, hold the balance; and the latest news is that the three nationalist parties have come to an agreement to keep out the largest party from government.

The final results released by state election authorities showed President Boris Tadic's reformist group, For a European Serbia, won 102 seats in the 250-member parliament. The far-right Radical Party won 78 seats, and nationalist Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica's Popular Coalition won 30, the results showed.

A simple majority of 126 seats is needed to form a government. To reach that target, either side will need the support of late strongman Slobodan Milosevic's Socialists and their 20 lawmakers. The Socialists have negotiated with both Tadic and the two nationalist parties, but have not yet chosen sides. The party has suggested it might form a coalition with the nationalists in the city of Belgrade, but team up with Tadic to form a national government.

Tadic has said the Socialists were an "acceptable" partner. Tadic can count on the support of the staunchly pro-Western Liberal Democratic Party and its 13 deputies, as well as four ethnic Hungarian lawmakers.

Negotiations among Serbia's key political players since the May 11 elections have yet to determine whether the country will be governed by the reformists or their nationalist rivals. The two nationalist parties that came in second and third in the voting have sought to team up to counter the election gains of Tadic's For a European Serbia alliance. Tadic advocates Serbian membership in the European Union. 

Kosovo – the sticking point
Kosovo continues to bedevel Serbian politics. The Battle of the Field of Blackbirds in 1389, otherwise known as the Battle of Kosovo, which led to centuries of subjection to the Ottomans, still haunts the Serb nation. It is unique for a country to be so fixated on a defeat. Kosovo, although inhabited 90% by Albanians, is forever Serb for the nationalists. 

They want to drop the country's entry bid because many EU nations have recognized the independence of Kosovo — Serbia's historical heartland, which is now dominated by separatist ethnic Albanians. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February, winning quick recognition by the United States and its key EU allies.

Under Milosevic, the Socialists were blamed for inciting four wars in the Balkans in the 1990s. But the party has since sought to portray itself as a modern leftist group.

EU officials have said they would support any pro-European government in Serbia. They fear that a nationalist government, with a hankering for Kosovo, would destabilize the region.

Parties agree on new coalition
Three Serbian nationalist parties have, indeed, in one report agreed to form a coalition government in the capital Belgrade that may oust president Boris Tadic’s pro-European coalition from power. Outgoing prime minister Vojislav Kostunica said his Democratic Party of Serbia had secured a deal with the leader of the Serbian Radical Party, Tomislav Nikolic, and Ivica Dacic of the Socialist Party of Serbia to form a joint coalition.

Belgrade is considered the third largest stronghold in the country and the three leaders said they would continue talks for a coalition at a national level. The deal, if it holds up, would practically sideline president Boris Tadic for the first time since former socialist strongman Slobodan Milosevic was toppled from power in October 2000.

Kostunica ran a poor third, but was in a position to form a majority with Nikolic and Dacic in parliament, as well as in Belgrade and other municipalities.

Tadic jubilantly proclaimed victory on election night, but has tried to lure the socialists to support him ever since in an effort to form a coalition. The problem is that Tadic’s democrats have for years accused the socialists of starting the Balkan wars a decade ago and for leading the country into international isolation. His recent overtures to Dacic have been met with scorn from most commentators, nationalists and even within his party.

The outgoing governing coalition between Kostunica and Tadic collapsed in February after majority ethnic Albanians declared Kosovo independence with the support of western powers and most European Union countries. 

Kostunica, Nikolic and Dacic say Serbia should proceed with EU membership with Kosovo as an integral part, whereas Tadic insists the country should join the EU regardless of Kosovo's fate.

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