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While talks on forming a new government in Serbia continue, Ivica Dacic's Socialists continue to juggle their coalition options and offers.
Two weeks after Serbia's new President, Tomislav Nikolic, was sworn into office, talks on forming a new coalition government in Serbia are ongoing.
The Democrats and the Socialists have already made a deal to continue to work together in a new government led by Boris Tadic, leader of the Democrats.
The problem has emerged over the third partner that they need in order to obtain a parliamentary majority.
The Socialists oppose having the Liberals as the third partner, owing to the stance of the latter on Kosovo and the Bosnian Serb entity, the Republika Srpska.
The Liberals are the only party supporting recognition of Kosovo's independence, which the outgoing Serbian government strongly opposed.
They are also highly critical of the Republika Srpska, subscribing to the Bosnian Muslim view that is a "genocidal" creation, that is, it was formed by large-scale ethnic cleansing in the 1992-5 war in Bosnia.
Ivica Dacic, leader of the Socialists, said he would not cave in to pressure to agree to a government with the Liberals alone, but insisted on a fourth party, the United Regions of Serbia, joining in as well.
"We cannot create a government with the Liberals only. We favour them joining the government, but not a government that depends on them," Dacic said.
The Democrats dislike the idea of the United Regions of Serbia becoming a partner, following their experience of working with them in the outgoing government.
Mladjan Dinkic, leader of the United Regions of Serbia, shook up the Serbian government last year when he said on TV that key decisions were not being taken within the government building - implying that they were being taken by the Serbian President instead. He was sacked soon afterwards.
Meanwhile, the Serbian Progressive Party, the party that has won most seats in parliament, are also wooing the Socialists into coalition and may even offer Dacic the post of Prime Minister.
However, Dacic appears far from enthusiastic, saying that the Russian authorities had interfered in the negotiations over the new government and were putting pressure on him to choose the pro-Russian, nationalist Progressives over the Democrats.
In the general elections on May 6, the Progressives won 73 of the 250 seats in the parliament. The Democrats came second with 67 and the Socialists third with 44. The deadline for the formation of a new government is September 5.
This spring almost 7 million Serbians are entitled to vote in presidential, general, provincial and local elections.
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.
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.
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.
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