By Bojana Barlovac
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 preliminary results, 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 hardline nationalist Radical Party won 5 per cent, United Regions of Serbia 6.1 per cent, the Liberals 6.6 per cent, the Democratic Party of Serbia, DSS, 7.2 per cent and Dveri 3.7 per cent.
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 preliminary results, announced by the Centre for Free Elections and Democracy, CeSID, are accurate, the Democrat-led coalition will win 67 seats of the 250 seats in parliament. The Progressives will take 72 seats, the Socialists 48, the DSS 20, the Liberals 19 and the United Regions of Serbia 17. The main ethnic Hungarian party will have six.
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.
Some of the votes may be slightly changed depending on the results from Kosovo, where the OSCE organised voting by Kosovo Serbs.
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.