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News 19 Jun 17

Vucic Lines up Serbian Ruling Party Behind Brnabic

President Aleksandar Vucic on Monday said he had persuaded ruling party MPs to back his choice of Ana Brnabic as PM-designate - despite clear discontent over the appointment of a non-party figure who is also a lesbian.

Filip Rudic
BIRN
Belgrade
PM designate Ana Brnabic. Photo: Emil Vas/Beta

Serbian President and Progressive Party leader Aleksandar Vucic on Monday convinced MPs from his ruling party to back Ana Brnabic as Serbia’s first woman Prime Minister. "It wasn’t easy," Vucic briefly told the press after the meeting.

Marija Obradovic, the Progressive official who addressed the press after the meeting, said that the parliamentary session on Brnabic’s confirmation would start “by the end of the week” but added that the party must first negotiate with its coalition partners to secure enough support.

“If that doesn’t happen, we will have a snap election. None of us are thrilled with that prospect, but some things can’t be forced,” Obradovic said.

Vucic previously said that he wanted the new government sworn in before his own inauguration ceremony on June 23, but it is unclear whether the ruling coalition will muster enough support by then.

The Progressive Party holds 102 of the 250 seats in parliament, and Brnabic needs 126 votes to be confirmed for the post. The Socialist Party, coalition partners of the Progressives, has 22 seats.

Analysts doubt the need for a snap election, but agree that discontent in the ranks of Vucic’s coalition over the nomination is real.

“It is because the PM-designate is not a party member, while the other reason is her sexual orientation,” Boban Stojanovic, from the Belgrade Faculty of Political Science, said regarding her openly gay orientation.

However, he does not believe Vucic risks encountering major problems inside his party.

Sociologist Vladimir Goati agrees that many Progressive MPs had hoped that the new Prime Minister would be one of their own members.

“There were many contenders [for the post], and surely they felt deprived and resentful,” Goati added.

Both Goati and Stojanovic said they considered new elections unlikely.

“The chance always exists, just like the chance of Earth being hit with a comet, but the odds are very small,” Goati said.

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