By Bojana Barlovac
Serbia’s new President, Tomislav Nikolic, on Thursday gave Ivica Dacic, the leader of the Socialists, a mandate to form a new government.
Nikolic met the Socialist Party leader in the presidential building on Thursday morning, saying that Dacic had convinced him that Socialists have the majority to form a government.
“[Besides the Socialists] The majority will include the Progressives, United Regions of Serbia and probably some other minority representatives in parliament,” Nikolic said.
Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Nikolic said the government should be small in terms of the number of ministries, efficient and responsible.
“I’m not saying it will be easy, the situation is very complicated, and the burden that we have inherited includes the very difficult issue of Kosovo,” the President said, referring to the ex-province that declared independence in 2008.
He also said that the new government will be expected to keep the country on the EU path, fight corruption and crime, strengthen the economy, engage in infrastructure construction and continue reforms of the judiciary and media.
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.
According to a source in the Progressive Party, Dacic would become Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Aleksandar Vucic, of the Progressives, would be deputy PM in charge of EU integration and Jorgovanka Tabakovic, also of the Progressives, would be Finance Minister.
Mladjan Dinkic of the United Regions would get economy, Slavica Djukic Dejanovic, of the Socialists, would get health, Velja Ilic – agriculture and spatial planning; Milutin Mrkonjic of the Socialists – infrastructure, Zarko Obradovic of the Socialists – education; Suzana Grubjesic of the United Regions – foreign policy; Vladimir Cvijan of the Progressives – justice; and Borislav Pelevic of the Progressives – defence.
This potential lineup came as talks between the Socialists and Democrats failed.
Immediately after the May 6 election, the Democrats and the Socialists made a deal to continue to work together in a new government.
But the situation changed after the Democrats’ leader, Boris Tadic, lost to Nikolic in the presidential run-off.
Since then, Dacic has been juggling various coalition options and offers.
The deadline to form the government is September 5 but all sides in Serbia have agreed that the government should be formed as soon as possible given the country’s poor economy.
The President has said that he expects the new government to concentrate on jobs, security and to bring Serbia closer to the EU.