With nearly 40 percent of the vote, Serbia’s pro-European bloc clearly won Sunday’s general election. But, as to who will actually run the country, that is a different matter altogether. No one political party has a majority in parliament, meaning much hard bargaining lies ahed.
“It will be better in any case,” said one man interviewed on the street in Belgrade. “I am expecting a better tomorrow.”
“I only hope they can reach an agreement soon and that we will have a new goverment,” a woman added.
But another man said he did not believe any administration would be formed.
“We will probably have new elections in three to four months and go on in a circle,” he said.
Yet supporters of EU membership seemed convinced there was something to celebrate and they partied into the night. Didn’t President Tadic himself say Serbia’s citizens had confirmed a clear European path!
But, hailing what he called a “great victory,” Tadic also warned: “We have to form the government right away and then we are going to be the winners.”
Tadic’s rivals, the runner-up hardline nationalists, have also cautioned the president’s camp against jumping the gun. Ultra-nationalist leader Tomislav Nikolic has made it clear he is just as keen to court potential coalition partners, with a view to leading an alliance of his own.
For, with 102 parliamentary seats out of 250, the president’s bloc can’t rule alone. At the same time, independent analysts note that nationalist voters combined make up half the electorate, even though they voted for three different parties.
Ironically, Serbia’s future could now lie in the hands of the Socialists of late strongman Slobodan Milosevic. Apparently able to join either of the two main camps, they could have a key kingmaker’s role.