After more than a decade, the Socialist Party of Serbia will probably head the Serbian Government again, being that leader of the party Ivica Dacic is appointed the prime minister designate. In what will probably be the new parliamentary majority, there is no most important hitherto partner of the Socialists, i.e. the Democratic Party, which practically annuls the agreement of these two parties achieved between the two rounds of the presidential elections, when the present political combination seemed unlikely.
On Thursday, President Tomislav Nikolic gave mandate of the prime minister designate to Ivica Dacic, in forming the government consisting of the Progressive Party, the coalition around the Socialist Party and the United Regions of Serbia. In his first statement after being appointed, Dacic has said that the only reason for giving up on forming the rule with the Democratic Party was his intention to take over the great responsibility and lead the Government in these difficult circumstances. For many, it was a surprise, but not a novelty in the national political scene. After all, the partnership of the Socialist and Democrats, established four years ago, was also unexpected at the time.
There is still no precise agreement on the composition of the government. It is possible that hard negotiations will follow, primarily on the program and priorities in work, as the government is facing many problems – first and foremost economic and social ones, but also the issues of Kosmet status and European integrations. According to economists, Serbia is nearing the debt crisis, and the latest warnings of the World Bank say that unless resolute measures are taken, the question is whether Serbia will be able to repay the debts, starting with October. We will need either the inflow of foreign capital, through direct investments, loans and privatization, or the sharp cuts in the consumption, such as freezing the salaries and pensions and increasing taxes. At the moment, the help form abroad is hard to get, especially when the authorities are not ready for saving measures. The unpopular measures will not be easy for the government with the United Pensioners’ Party in it, which insists on the rights of retired people, their main voting population. The election campaign of the Progressive Party was also full of promises of better economic situation and conditions for the investors. We can expect that the new coalition partners will have most problems agreeing on the economic issues, and least in view of the European integrations.
There is also the question of how will the forming of the new coalition on the republican level influence the setting in the provincial Vojvodina Parliament, or on the local level, like in Belgrade where the coalition around Socialists and the Democratic Party have already formed the authorities.
The key step in the negotiations, i.e. the appointment of the prime minister designate, has been greeted by the EU, USA and most other countries, who all have assessed as positive the fact that all the parties involved with the forming of the new government are clearly on the pro-European line.