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news 07 May 12

Socialists Claim Key to New Serbian Government

Socialists emerge as kingmakers after opposition Progressives take narrow lead over Democrats in general election; Tadic and Nikolic to go through to second round in presidential race.

Bojana Barlovac
BIRN
Belgrade

In the biggest surprise in the Serbian election results so far, the Socialist Party, the party of former Yugoslav strongman Slobodan Milosevic, has performed much better than most pollsters expected.

According to the final estimates published on Monday, the opposition Progressive Party won 24.7 per cent of the vote, the ruling Democratic Party won 23.2 per cent and the Socialists came third on 16.6 per cent.

Of the smaller parties, the United Regions of Serbia won 6.1 per cent, the Liberals 6.6 per cent and the Democratic Party of Serbia, DSS, 7.2 per cent.

The hard-line nationalist Radical Party, with 4.6 per cent of the votes, did not pass the threshold.

The Socialist leader, Ivica Dacic, said it was clear that his party had triumphed in the elections and that he will be the new prime minister.

"It might be unclear who will be the president of Serbia but it is well known who will be the prime minister," Dacic said.

He said the time when his party could be pushed around and treated as marginal was over and the fate of the main parties lay in his hands.

If the final results, announced by the Centre for Free Elections and Democracy, CeSID, are accurate, the Democrat-led coalition will win 68 seats of the 250 seats in parliament. The Progressives will take 73 seats, the Socialists 45, the DSS 20, the Liberals 20 and the United Regions of Serbia 16. 

The main ethnic Hungarian party will get five seats, while the Party of Democratic Action of Sandzak, the Vlach party and the party All Together will get one seat each.

The final result might change slightly depending on the results from Kosovo, where the Kosovo Serbs voted under the auspices of the OSCE.

According to CeSID, the only impact Kosovo votes might have is that the Democratic Party of Serbia, DSS, might get an extra seat in the parliament.

Although the Progressives have won most votes in the general election, their chances of forming a government still remain slim as a result of their poor coalition potential. Only if they strike a deal with the Socialists will they have enough seats to form a government.

It is more likely - if Dacic gets his way with the Democrats - that the Socialists will join forces with the Democrats, the Liberals, the ethnic Hungarians and United Regions of Serbia.

In the presidential elections, Boris Tadic of the Democrats won the largest percentage of votes in the presidential race, at 26.7, closely followed by the Progressives' Tomislav Nikolic who won 25.5 per cent. The Socialists' Dacic won 15.3.

Tadic and Nikolic therefore will go into the second round of presidential elections on May 20.

The State Election Commission said that voter turnout for the parliamentary elections was 61.08 per cent and 61.14 per cent in the presidential elections.

The CeSID reported no serious irregularities.

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Election Background

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Serbian Elections 2012: What's at stake

This spring almost 7 million Serbians are entitled to vote in presidential, general, provincial and local elections. 

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Two Decades of Election Tumult in Serbia

Since the renewal of multi-party politics in 1990 power has oscillated between a variety of parties in Serbia and votes have often followed by allegations of frauds and protests. 

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Key Parties in Serbia

Twelve years after the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic, the scene has changed significantly as parties rise, fall and change their minds. See Balkan Insight's profiles of Serbia's ruling and opposition parties.

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Serbian Presidential Elections Since 1990

Since the first multi-party elections were held in 1990, Serbia has often had acting heads of state, while many of those elected ended their terms before their mandates expired.

Quotes

"Tycoons want to see my back"

Boris Tadic, the leader of the Democrats

Video