news 30 Jan 14

Boris Tadic Quits Serbia's Democratic Party

Former Serbian president quits as honorary president of the now opposition Democrats, and leaves party entirely, citing disagreements with new leadership.

BIRN
Belgrade

Tadic announced on Thursday that he had left the Democratic Party, DS, entirely, citing policy disagreements with the current leadership.

"I decided to leave the party and resign as honorary president, because people who gave the DS a label as a corrupt and scandal-stained party are now coming back to the political bloc around the DS," Tadic said.

He was referring to the Democrats' potential coalition with the New Party led by Zoran Zivkovic, a former member of the Democrats.

The 53-year-old served as Prime Minister from 2003 to 2004 when, Tadic said, the Serbian government became linked with shady businessmen.

The shock resignation comes a day after Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic called early parliamentary elections for March 16.

In the elections, the now ruling Progressives are expected to capitalise on strong support among voters by taking the post of Prime Minister from their Socialist coalition partners.

The opposition Democrats, whose ratings have fallen since losing the 2012 general elections, are trying to ally with other opposition parties in order to maximise their result.

Tadic served as Serbian President from 2004-2008 and again from 2008-2012.
But, he was widely blamed for the party's defeat in 2o12, which occurred, some said, because he concentrated too much power in his own hands.

In November 2012, Dragan Djilas took over the party leadership from Tadic. Tadic and his supporters have been struggling to regain control ever since.

A recent poll, conducted by the Centre for Free Elections and Democracy, showed most people intend to vote for the Serbian Progressive Party in March.

About 42 per cent of voters said they planned to vote for the Progressives while the Democratic Party can count only on about 11 per cent of voters.

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