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news 08 Apr 14

Serbia Progressives Offer Hungarians Cabinet Posts

The Serbian Progressive Party has invited the main ethnic Hungarian party to join the new government, following the Progressives' Presidency meeting.

BIRN Belgrade

The Progressive Party, which came top in Serbia's March 16 general election, has invited the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, SVM, to join a coalition government.

“We want that coalition and we want to work together,” Aleksandar Vucic, leader of the Progressives, said after a meeting with SVM leader Istvan Pastor at the Progressives' headquarters on Monday.

The Progressives said they were open to offering the ethnic Hungarian party ministerial posts in the government.

The Serbian Progressive Party won 158 out of 250 seats in parliament in the March 16 election, giving it the lead role in the formation of the new government. The Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians won six.

The offer comes at the time of increasing tensions in Vojvodina, which is home to almost all Serbia's ethnic Hungarian community.

After the Progressives' triumphs in the general election, and in polls in the capital, the party has made no secret of aiming to topple the former ruling Democratic Party's last bastion - the province of Vojvodina.

However, Vucic, said changing Vojvodina's provincial government was not discussed during the meeting with Pastor. "The greatest burden of the provincial government is the issue of legitimacy,” Vucic said, referring to the unresolved issue of Vojvodina's status.

Tensions over the future of the province, which is more multi-ethnic than Serbia proper, rose in July 2012, after a Constitutional Court ruling curbed Vojvodina's powers.

The Court disputed around 20 provisions of the law of the jurisdictions of Vojvodina, including those naming Novi Sad as capital of the province, and entitling Vojvodina to open its own representative office in Brussels.

The law on Vojvodina was implemented on January 1, 2010. The provincial assembly previously proclaimed its own statute on December 14, 2009.

Vucic is also expected to meet his former coalition partner, Ivica Dacic, leader of the Socialist Party, and Boris Tadic, leader of the New Democratic Party and Serbia's former president.

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