News 16 Nov 12

Democrats Keep Hold of Reins in Belgrade

Amid speculation that the coalition running Serbia’s capital may change, the mayor says the current agreement remains firm.

Marija Ristic
BIRN
Belgrade

Dragan Djilas, Mayor of Belgrade and vice-president of the Democratic Party, says his position is not under threat and his current Socialist coalition partners are not threatening the city’s government.

Although the Socialists and the Progressive Party have formed a national government since the May general elections, the Socialists remain in coalition with the former ruling Democrats in numerous municipalities, including Belgrade.

“Belgrade’s government is functioning well and I do not see any reason to break the deal and go against the will of citizens who voted for us,” the Mayor said on November 9th. “We have firm agreements with our coalition partners,” he added.

In the May 6th local elections, the Democrats won 50 of the 110 seats in the city assembly.

The Socialist-led coalition won 13 seats and has decided to stay in coalition with the Democrats, as it did in the previous term.

The Progressives won 37 seats, while the opposition Democratic Party of Serbia, DSS, won 10.

Aleksandar Jovicic, head of the Progressives’ caucus in the assembly, says his party will discuss a possible power shift in the capital in coming days.

However, the Democrats’ coalition partners do not appear keen to break their existing deal.

The Socialist leader, Serbia’s Prime Minister, Ivica Dacic, says a coalition break-up hasn’t even been discussed.

“There is always a possibility of that but so far we didn’t have any discussion in relation to the current government of Belgrade,” Dacic said.

Jovan Krkobabic, from the United Pensioners of Serbia, PUPS, which won four seats in coalition with the Socialists, again confirmed that good things ought not to be changed and that so far the coalition in the city has done an impressive job.

So far, only the DSS supports changing power in Belgrade openly, as they hope to become a part of a new city coalition government led by the Progressives.

“We expect a call from the Progressives very soon, in the next few days, and we hope that a real change will happen in Belgrade, as it is necessary,“ Andreja Mladenovic, a DSS councillor in Belgrade said.

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