By Bojana Barlovac
Serbian parties opt for smaller and more efficient government but its size will depend of the apetites of coalition partners, experts say.
Zoran Stojiljkovic, political science professor, believes that the number of cabinet posts in the new Serbian government should not exceed 19, including the prime minister and two deputy prime ministers.
Following the May 6 elections, the Socialists and the Democrats agreed to continue their coalition partnership in the new government but insisted that they would discuss staffing after the second round of the presidential elections due on May 20.
During the election campaign, Serbian political parties kept repeating that the new government should not have more than 15 ministries in order to save money and be more efficient.
The Serbian government used to have 27 ministries but following the government reshuffle in March 2011 that number decreased to 21.
Stojiljkovic believes that the new government will be similar in size to the previous one.
“There is not much leeway for changes,” Stojiljkovic added.
Analyst Dejan Vuk Stankovic believes it would be possible to form a government with fewer ministries if the coalition members decreased their appetite for power.
Stankovic recommends the principle introduced by late Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djinjdic whereby a minister should be from one party and a ministry’s secretary from another.
Other coalition partners in the new government, besides the Socialists and the Democrats, are yet to be known.
The most likely candidates are the Liberal Democratic Party or the United Regions of Serbia plus some minority parties.
Any new government should adopt serious austerity measures and will face numerous challenges with unemployment running at 24 per cent and average salaries of only 350 euro a month.