Serbia’s parliament has elected a hardline nationalist as its speaker, drawing condemnation from the European Union. Tomislav Nikolic of the Radical Party won a comfortable majority with the backing of the moderate nationalists of outgoing prime minister Vojislav Kostunica and the Socialists.
Nikolic’s election is widely seen as the result of infighting between pro-European parties who have so far failed to form a new government after an inconclusive general election in January. In the West, Nikolic is viewed as the spiritual heir to former president Slobodan Milosevic.
While taking a softer line on national issues, he favours EU membership but only on Belgrade’s terms, opposes joining NATO as well as independence for Kosovo. The EU froze talks with Serbia a year ago after Belgrade failed to hand over wanted war crimes suspects.