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News 16 Jun 16

New Serbian Govt Delays Blamed on Foreign Affairs

Complicated relations between Russia, the EU and United States are delaying the formation of a new government in Serbia. 

Milivoje Pantovic
BIRN
Serbia
Serbian Parliament. Photo Beta

Serbia's old/new Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vucic, announced that a new government would be formed by June 16 - but has since changed his mind and prolonged the date.

After general elections in Serbia on April 24, his Serbian Progressive Party and its coalition partners, which ran the previous government, won 131 out of 250 seats, which gave them an opportunity to form a new government by themselves.

Now the head of the Liberal Democratic Party, Cedomir Jovanovic, has stated that problems in forming the new government are being created outside Serbia, blaming the complicated relationships between the EU, the US and Russia, which are all Serbia's most important partners.

“There are issues on Kosovo and Bosnia but also over Russia and our relationship with them. A lot of factors are interested in solving those situations and all that influences the decision about who will sit in government,” Jovanovic said.

Prime Minister Vucic made a surprise visit to Moscow in late May, ostensibly for personal reasons, but when he met with President Vladimir Putin, which the Serbian public only found out from the Russian agency, Sputnik.

“In diplomacy, there is fair play and Vucic did not have that in Moscow since his private visit was used by Russia and broadcast as official,” Jovanovic noted.

However, Jovanovic said that there would be no diversion by Serbia from the EU path, which he said the Prime Minister had confirmed to him.

Vucic meanwhile stated on Tuesday that he will not let anyone interfere in the decisions on who will sit in his cabinet and added that the government will be formed after the visit of the President of China, Xi Jinping, which takes place from June 17 to 19.

For now, it is known only that the new government will include the ethnic Hungarian minority party, the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, but the other candidates are still a mystery.

Former MP and ambassador Vesna Pesic wrote in an article published on Pescanik that the elections had brought more pro-Moscow parties into parliament, prompting requests from Moscow for them sit in the new government.

“That has led to a crisis with the West and that crisis has delayed the forming of the new government, since Vucic now has to come up with a new plan and people,” wrote Pesic.

Vucic also announced on Tuesday that he had cancelled his planned trip to the United States and Brussels, but will go to Brussels after the new government is formed.

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