By Bojana Barlovac
Leaders of three parties – the Progressives, Socialists and United Regions of Serbia, have signed an agreement to form a new government and outlined its priorities.
Two months after the May general elections, Serbia has an official agreement on a new government.
Leaders of the Progressives, Socialists and the United Regions of Serbia have signed a deal to form a new government and have also agreed on its broad goals.
The government will be headed by Ivica Dacic, the leader of the Socialists and once the right-hand man of Serbia’s former strongman, Slobodan Milosevic.
The coalition deal includes 13 pages in which the parties have elaborated the government’s agenda in various fields, including foreign policy, the economy, social policy, the rule of law, the fight against crime and corruption, public administration, the management of public enterprises, decentralisation, media freedom, health, education and science.
The document says that Serbia will remain on the EU path and invest all its efforts towards obtaining a date for the start of accession talks.
It is also stated that Serbia will not recognise the independence of Kosovo, which proclaimed independence in 2008 and which Serbia still claims as a province.
However, talks with Kosovo will continue. “It is necessary to implement the agreed technical dialogue with Pristina and continue the dialogue at the political level, with participation of top state officials,” the text of the agreement said.
The government has pledged to maintain good relations with all of Serbia’s neighbours.
When it comes to economic policy, the government has pledged to take emergency measures by September to reduce the budget deficit, and introduce radical measures to reduce the bureaucracy and curb unnecessary state spending.
The coalition partners said earlier that the government will have 15 ministries. The last Democrat-led government had 17.
Leaders of the new government have declined to disclose the names of future ministers.
However, media reported that deputy prime ministers will be Jovan Krkobabic and Suzana Grubjesic. The Socialists have kept their two posts in the previous government. Dacic will remain Interior Minister and Zarko Obradovic will stay as Education Minister while Milutin Mrkonjic will also become Infrastructure Minister. Krkobabic of the Socialists will also be Labour Minister.
The Socialists’ Slavica Djukic Dejanovic will be the Minister of Health while her party colleague Branko Ruzic will be Minister of Youth and Sports.
The Progressives are expected to hold five ministries. Aleksandar Vucic is expected to be Defence Minister while Goran Knezevic gets Agriculture, Nikola Selakovic – Justice, Zorana Milanovic – Energy and Radoslav Pavlovic – Culture.
The United Regions of Serbia will head two ministries, Finance and Local Government, led by Mladjan Dinkic and Verica Kalanovic.
In the general elections on May 6, the Progressives won 73 of the 250 seats in parliament and the Socialists 44 and United Regions of Serbia 11.