On the 1st of March 2012 Serbia obtained the candidate status for the EU after the submission for its application in December 2009. Serbia has made progress in meeting the political criteria and addressing key European Partnership priorities in the last years. The arrest of Ratko Mladic,one of the most wanted war crimes suspects, indicted by the ICTY on charges of genocide and other war crimes committed during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), on 26 May 2011 improved Serbia’s cooperation with the ICTY and brought Serbia closer to EU accession. However, tensions between Serbia and Kosovo increased after Kosovo’s special police forces tried to take control of the two border crossings in Serb-dominated northern Kosovo in July 2011, cumulating in clashes between the two sides in September. On the 2nd of December Serbia and Kosovo reached an agreement on border crossing checks. Further agreements between Kosovo and Serbia were made on the 24th of February 2012 on Kosovo's representation at regional meetings and on the management of Kosovo's border with Serbia. The EU is now pushing Belgrade and Pristina to launch direct talks that would steer clear of controversial issues such as Kosovo's future status and focus on practical cooperation on issues such as energy provisions, infrastructure, and economic development. Furthermore reforms are needed to ensure that the new constitutional framework is implemented in line with European standards, particularly in the area of the judiciary. Kosovo will remain a major issue.
Parliamentary elections 11 May 2008
The parliamentary elections were a consequence of the dissolution of the parliament by the Serbian President Boris Tadic on 13 March. This was a result of a major political crisis concerning the coalition agreement between the ruling coalition parties Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) of Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica on one side and the Democratic Party (DS) and G-17 Plus on the other. This dispute was mainly about the cooperation with the European Union. Tensions in the ruling coalition had already been apparent for a longer time, with DSS arguing against the strengthening of ties with the EU, now most EU member states have recognized Kosovo’s independence, whereas DS was also against Kosovo independence, but did not think this issue should influence Serbia’s European integration. In the end the coalition’s demise came after pro-European forces voted down a resolution on 6 March 2008 that would have halted Serbian efforts to join the EU until Brussels stopped supporting Kosovo’s independence.
The National Assembly of Serbia consists of 250 members that are elected for a four-years term. Parliament seats will be distributed proportionally to those parties that have reached the threshold of five percent of the votes. However, this threshold does not apply for the minorities parties.
Generally speaking the election campaign could be described as fair, complying with democratic standards. The signing of the conditional Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) on 29 April increased the tension in the run to the elections. The signers of the agreement, President Boris Tadic and Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic, were labelled as traitors and enemies of the state on posters in the streets of Belgrade and received several death threats. According to the reports of OSCE who observed the elections in Serbia, the diversity of media in the country and the free and loosely regulated media environment resulted in a neutral coverage of the elections. The campaign focused on three main issues: Kosovo, EU integration and the work of the dissolved government.. It underlined the division in politics and society between those who aspire European integration and those who regard such integration as the selling of the Serbian soul as it equals giving up of Kosovo.
Results of the parliamentary elections in Serbia held on 11 May 2008 (Turnout: 60,7)
|Za Evropsku Srbiju (ZES), For a European Serbia coalition, DS,
G17 Plus, SPO, League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina (LSV)
|Serbian Radical Party (SRS)||29.5||77|
|Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) and New Serbia (NS)||11.6||30|
|Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) and United Serbia (PUPS-JS)||7.6||20|
|Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)||5.2||13|
|Hungarian Coalition (MK)||1.8||4|
|Coalition List for Sandzak (SDA)||0.9||2|
|Koalition of Albanians from Presevo Valley (KAL)||0.4||1|
Immediately after the exit polls were announced on Sunday night, Boris Tadic claimed victory, saying “Serbia has chosen the path towards the EU”. Seventeen EU member states decided on 6 May to waive visa fees for Serbian citizens, in a bid to support the Serbian pro-European forces in the elections. The election victory of the pro-European coalition was certainly received as a relief in Europe which qualified it as a “pro-European choice” of the Serbians.
The Serbian Radical Party (SRS), took the first initiative to form a coalition as they started negotiating with the DSS of Vojislav Kostunica and the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) of the late President Slobodan Milosevic. The SPS had a key position in the coalition negotiations as both DS and SRS needed them in order to get an absolute majority. The two most likely options were a pro-European coalition, headed by DS of Boris Tadic together with SPS or a pro-Russian nationalist coalition leaded by the Radical Party together with DSS and SPS. The important coalition talks for the future of Serbia took two months and for a long time it was rather uncertain which way Serbia was heading.
In the end the pro-European forces managed to form a coalition by signing the coalition agreement on 4 July and on 7 July the parliament approved the nomination of Mirko Cvetkovic of DS as Prime Minister. Apart from the SPS-led coalition, the Democratic Party (DS)-led coalition also supported her, as did ethnic minority parties. The EU reacted delighted with the new pro-European government in Serbia and argued that Serbia had taken an important step towards further EU integration. Two years after the elections, the ruling coalition is still standing, although it is facing serious pressure from the opposition because of it failed to revoke Kosovo’s independence. But even though the Kosovo case is still in a deadlock situation, and EU membership is not going to be likely in the very near future, the government has proven itself able to cope with big challenges such as the global recession and the independence of Kosovo. Moreover, Serbia successfully applied for EU membership in December 2009.
Presidential elections 20 January and 3 February 2008
Serbian presidential elections took place in two rounds on 20 January and 3 February 2008. The presidential post is largely ceremonial, but the ballot is widely seen as an important barometer for the political climate. In the first round, nine candidates competed. It was, however, clear before the ballot that it would come down to a contest between pro-Western incumbent president Boris Tadic (DS) and it main contender, the nationalist Tomislav Nikolic (SRS). The two candidates’ opinion differed on the relation between this topic and EU integration. Although Nikolic said he is in favour of joining the EU, he made it clear that this could only happen when the EU “does not make obstacles”, and ruled out the possibility of joining the EU when it would accept independence for Kosovo. Tadic also opposed independence for Kosovo, but maintained that this issue should be dealt with separate from the decision of joining the EU.
The first round of the elections was won by Nikolic, with around 39 percent of the vote. Tadic came in second with 35 percent. Turnout was high for Serbia, at 61 percent. Since none of the candidates had been able to secure an absolute majority in the first round of the vote, a runoff between Nikolic and Tadic was held on 3 February. Both Nikolic and Tadic campaigned actively ahead of the second round of the elections, offering voters a choice between two distinct political perspectives.
On 28 January, the EU offered a political cooperation deal to Serbia in a bid to support Tadic’s candidacy. The deal was to provide “a framework for making progress on a political dialogue, free trade, visa liberalisation and educational cooperation.” Foreign minister of Slovenia, which holds the EU Presidency in the first half of 2008, Dimitri Rupel, described the deal as “sort of three-quarters of the way towards signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA).” The Netherlands and Belgium blocked EU attempts to sign the official SAA with Serbia because of its failure to hand over UN war crimes suspects to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. Although the EU and Tadic might have seen the offered agreement as a signal of tightening relations between Serbia and the EU, the fact that the EU still refused to offer the SAA to Serbia was used by Nikolic to assert that the EU in fact does not really support Serbia. The turnout for the second round was high, with at 67.7 percent. Both candidates received considerable support, and the eventual outcome showed only a minimal difference in percentage of the vote. Eventually, the incumbent president Boris Tadic won the elections:
|Candidate||% of votes|
Parliamentary elections and first round presidential elections 6 May 2012
On 7 May 2012 parliamentary elections and the first round for the presidential elections took place in Serbia. The Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) won with 24.04 percent of the votes resulting in 73 seats in parliament. The SNS was formed after the last parliamentary elections by a group of MP’s that formerly were part of the Serbian Radical Party. The Democratic Party (DS) that until these elections formed the biggest party in the governing coalition came second with 22.3 % of the votes. The Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) of Ivica Dačić came third with 14,7 % of the votes followed successively by the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS), the U-Turn Coalition (Preokret) and the United Regions of Serbia (URS). By almost doubling their seats, the Socialists have obtained a important position in forming government with either DS or SNS. On 9 May it was made public that the DS and the SPS agreed to form a coalition. However, many say that this should not be seen as a definitive coalition as things depend on the outcome of the second round of the Presidential elections on 20 May. The results of the first round of the presidential elections showed that DS presidential candidate Boris Tadić won 25.37% of the votes and SNS candidate Tomislav Nikolić won 25.02%. Ivica Dačić (SPS) came in third with an estimated 15,30% of the votes.
Preliminary results Parliamentary elections 6 May 2012
|Serbian Progressive Party (SNS)||Tomislav Nikolić||24,0|
|Democratic Party (DS)||Boris Tadić||22,3|
|Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS)||Ivica Dačić||14,7|
|Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS)||Vojislav Koštunica||6,8|
|U-Turn Coalition (Preokret)
(Liberal Democratic Party)
|United Regions of Serbia (URS)||Mlađan Dinkić||5,4|
Presidential election 20 May 2012
On 20 May Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) leader Tomislav Nikolić won the presidential runoff against the leader of the Democrats Boris Tadić in the second round of the presidential elections. It was predicted that Tadić would win as he was leading in polls and came out first in the first round. According to the preliminary results of the Center for Free Elections and Democracy, CeSID, Tomislav Nikolić won 49.8 and Boris Tadić 47 percent. CeSID Program Director Marko Blagojević told at a press conference that a total voter turnout had been 46.3 percent, which is less than in any elections since 2004. Only in Vojvodina did Tadić win more votes – 52.2 percent, while Nikolić got 44.2 percent of the vote. Blagojević also pointed out that the number of spoiled votes was 3.2 percent and that the usual number had so far been 2.5 percent. Outgoing President Tadic served as Serbia's president for two mandates since 2004.
Political participation of women
Although there are no legal impediments to the participation of women in Serbian politics, women are still underrepresented in parliament. The inclusion of female candidates on party and coalition lists is stimulated by the requirement that every fourth candidate and no less than 30 percent of the candidates appearing on an electoral list must belong to the less-represented gender. However, the provision of the LER that allows political parties and coalitions to choose which candidates from their lists become members of parliament after the election, without regard to the order in which they were originally represented on the list, combined with a failure to extend the gender provision to the actual distribution of mandates, in fact renders this provision ineffective. In the end, 53 out of 250 seats, or 21.2 percent of the mandates, went to women. This is an increase with two seats compared to the parliamentary elections in January 2007.
Political participation of minorities
According to the 2002 census, 17.14 percent of Serbia’s population identified themselves as non-Serbs, representing more that twenty ethnic and national minorities. Some of these minority communities are concentrated to such an extend that in some areas they constitute majority populations, for example in Sandzak region in southern Serbia. Several measures have been taken to stimulate the participation of minorities in the elections. Election material for the 2008 parliamentary elections was printed in Serbian and minority languages in 28 different combinations, depending on the region. Moreover, members of the National Assembly belonging to a minority group that constitutes at least two percent of the total population of Serbia are, according to provisions of the Serbian law, entitled to address the parliament in their native language.
The most important provision to stimulate the political participation of national minorities was the 2004 amendment to the Law on the Election of Representatives (LER), due to which the 5% threshold for parties and coalitions representing minorities was waived. Although the OSCE has praised the inclusion of minorities in the political process, the organization has also raised concern over the fact that the LER does not contain a definition of a national minority party or the criteria by which a party or a coalition qualifies for this special status. According to the OSCE, this raises the chance of “potential future abuses by parties and coalitions seeking to gain access to the privileges prescribed for those representing national minorities.”
All in all, most national minorities seemed not to face any obstacles to participate in the political process in Serbia. There are suspicions that a part of the Roma community is unable to cast their ballots in elections, as they are unregistered and therefore are not registered as voters either. The state is taking positive steps by launching programmes to enhance the cultural and informational capacities of the Roma community. But in spite of this leap forward, more is being done for the Roma people by activists from the civil sector. Political parties are not doing enough when it comes to reaching out to Roma or to any other minority group Furthermore, the Kosovo Albanians have, over the past years, continuously refused to take part in Serbian elections.
Social Democratic Party of Serbia (SDPS)
In October of 2009 the newly established Social Democratic Party of Serbia was presented to the media. The main aim of the party is Serbia’s accession to the European Union, the preservation of territorial integrity of the country, regionalization of Serbia and the reduction of state administration. Furthermore, it is of crucial importance to increase the living standards of the people. The main slogan of SDP is “only the people”. On 12 December of 2009 the statutes of the party were adopted by the first Party Congress which welcomed leaders of social democratic parties from the region. Rasim Ljajic was elected as the leader of the party. According to Ljajic, the first strategic partner of the party is the Democratic Party of Serbian president Boris Tadic, followed by the Socialist Party of Serbia of Ivica Dacic. The party wants to establish close relations with the S&D Group and other social democratic parties in the region. Even though it is still in a development phase and the party structures have to be strengthened further, SDPS has managed to get 6.5 % of the votes at recent the local elections in some smaller Serbian municipalities.
SDP holds no seats in the Serbian parliament and has no status in Socialist International.
Party leader: Rasim Ljajic
Social Democratic Party of Serbia (SDP)
The SDP was founded in April 2002 when the Social Democratic Union and Social Democracy (SD) merged, and ceased to exist in 2009. The party was in government from 2002 as part of the broad anti-Milosevic DOS coalition. After the withdrawal of the support to DOS of the SDS, the government lost majority and the parliament was dissolved. Especially the dominance of the Democratic Party in the coalition was a reason to step out of it. As a result, early elections were called.
Due to a split within the party, the SDP had become very small and decided to participate on the list of the liberal party G17 Plus in the 2003 parliamentary elections. The SDP became part of the government of Serbia with one, two deputy ministers and five assistant ministers. In August 2005 the Social Democratic Party left the government over a conflict about the proposal of privatization of the state-run Oil Industry of Serbia. Meanwhile, From 12 September 2004 Nebojsa Covic led the party. Previously, he was the mayor of Belgrade during the Milosevic years.
The SDP ran on the 21 January 2007 parliamentary election together with the Party of United Pensioners of Serbia of Jovan Krkobabic. The PUPS-SDP coalition also included the Socialist People's Party. This coalition received 3.11% of the total votes, thus failing to pass the threshold of 5% to enter the National Assembly of Serbia. In 2008 the party did not get enough votes to enter parliament either. Despite these disappointing turnouts, the party became a full member of the Socialist International in July 2008.
In 2009 the party failed to pre-register and with that ended to exist. Oliver Ivanovic, one of the prominent officials of the party and current State Secretary of Kosovo and Metohija blamed leader Covic for this. According to Ivanovic, Covic did not try to bring together the main board and the presidency of the party in order to bring the party back to life after SDP failed to enter the parliament. Covic said that the members of the presidency did not have time for party work.
Former party-leader: Nebojsa Covic
Democratic Party (DS)
The DS’ party leader, Boris Tadic, is the President of Serbia. He was re-elected in February for a second term. The DS was the first opposition party to be established in Serbia. In the 2003 parliamentary elections DS became the third largest party in the Serbian parliament with 37 of 250 seats. The party stayed out of the government, but its role in opposition was an essential one, counterforcing against the dominant extreme nationalist forces of SPS and SRS and providing for necessary majorities on reform proposals. The DS is a firm supporter of Serbia’s integration into the European Union and co-operation with the ICTY. Concerning Kosovo, they stress the importance of the standards before the status. For some time it was unclear in what direction the party would head, but now the party adopted a social democratic orientation, seeking contact with parties of the social democratic family all over Europe and officially confirming it on the party congress.
After Serbian President Boris Tadic was re-elected leader of DS at the party congress on 18 February 2006 in Belgrade, he presented his ideas for establishing a civil forum within DS, and urged party members to sharpen their political skills. In the parliamentary elections in 2008, DS formed a pre-election coalition with G 17 Plus named For a European Serbia (ZES). The coalition won the elections by getting 38.4% of votes. Currently, the DS is the biggest party in the ruling coalition whilst Mirko Cvetkovic of DS is Prime Minister of Serbia.
The party has is a full member in the Socialist International, since July 2008.
Party leader: Boris Tadic
Social Democratic Union (SDU)
The SDU was formed in May 1998 after a split in the Civic Alliance. The party became one of the most progressive anti-nationalist parties and adopted a social democratic orientation. The lack of personal involvement in the war of the SDU leaders gave credibility abroad among western social democrats, but the pro-Western attitude of the SDU simultaneously guaranteed it a place on the margin of everyday politics in Serbia. The SDU took a firm stance against nationalism and the war politics of the Serbian and Yugoslav governments. The SDU struggles for respect of human and civil rights for all ethnic groups. These standings are highly controversial in Serbia, making the party’s position marginal. On 20 April 2002 the SDU and Social democracy (SD) merged into the Social Democratic Party of Serbia (SDS.) On the second congress in May 2003 of this new party Slobodan Orlic was elected as the leader of the SDS. As a result of internal and personal differences, former leader of SDU, Zarko Korac re-established SDU. The fact that SDU became a member of DOS again and that Korac remained Deputy Prime Minister in the previous government guaranteed SDU of the necessary power, to re-establish the party. However, analysts now see that the party’s position is weak.The party has friendly relations particularly with the newly founded Liberal Democratic Party, Civic Alliance and the League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina.
The SDU has no status in the Socialist International.
Party-leader: Zarko Korac
League of Social Democrats in Vojvodina (LSV)
The LSV is a multi-ethnic, anti-nationalist, anti-war, social democratic party in Vojvodina. Since the founding of the party, the LSV has opposed all discrimination on ethnic or any other ground. In fact, the LSV, and the SDU, are the only parties in Yugoslavia who over the years have openly criticized Serbian nationalism and the regime of Milosevic since its foundation.
The LSV strives for an autonomous, multi-ethnic, and democratic Vojvodina, to be reached through decentralization and ‘denationalization’ of Serbia. The party is absent outside Vojvodina, which is the cause for their absence in the parliament. They are not able to overcome the 5 per cent threshold. However, the party is strong on the regional and local level in Vojvodina. In the 2003 parliamentary elections LSV formed together with multi-ethnic or ethnic minority parties a coalition named “Together for Tolerance”. The coalition was formed in an effort to overcome the 5% barrier, however the coalition just reached 4%. In the 2007 the elections the party was part of a coalition together with the Liberal Democratic Party and the Social Democratic Union. Next, in 2008, LSV formed a pre-election coalition with the DS, G17 Plus and some minority parties. LSV currently has 5 seats in the Serbian Parliament.
The LSV has no status in the Socialist International.
Party leader: Nenad Canak
The Serbian Radical Party (SRS)
The SRS was founded in 1991 by Vojislav Seselj and Tomislav Nikolic. The current leader, Vojislav Seselj, is awaiting trial at the war crimes tribunal on charges of crimes against humanity in Croatia and Bosnia in the 1990s. The party is extreme nationalist and it supports the idea of a Greater Serbia, stretching out from Istria to Thessaloniki. In the early 1990’s Seselj’s party was the mainstay of Milosevic’s government. In the latest elections of May 2008 the party got 29,5 % of the votes and is the biggest opposition party with 77 seats in the National Assembly. Its electoral success, although not as big as in the elections in 2007, can be explained by growing nationalist sentiments in Serbia, their promise to engage in economic reforms and votes of people who formerly supported the Socialist Party of Serbia. Due to its extremist orientation, the party stayed out of government. However since a minority government was formed and other parties are also quite nationalist, the SRS has major political influence and their proposals have significant chance to be adopted.
On 8 September 2008, Tomislav Nikolic resigned from the party, after disagreements with Seselj. The main disagreement was on the topic of Serbia’s accession to the European Union, which is supported by Nikolic but not by Seselj. That same day, Nikolic formed a new parliamentary group called "Forward Serbia”, which was joined by a number of other Radical Party members. This was condemned by Vojislav Seselj a few days later. On 12 September 2008 Nikolic and his group were officially expelled from the Radical Party. In response, Nikolic announced he would form his own party. On 14 September Aleksandar Vucic, secretary-general of SRS and a very popular figure among party supporters, resigned from Serbian Radical Party. The splinters led by Nikolic and Vucic launched the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS). The Serbian Radical Party lost 21 parliamentary seats to the SNS due to the split, keeping only 56 seats. Dragan Todorovic replaced Nikolic as the new SRS leader.
Party leader: Vojislav Seselj
Interim party leader: Dragan Todorovic
Serbian Progressive Party (SNS)
The SNS was formed as a group of breakaway MPs in the parliament from the Serbian Radical Party (SRS). The party was registered on 10 October 2008. The SNS is a center-right, conservative party. Deputy leader Aleksandar Vucic told Serbian media that the new party's goal will be to " fight for a higher standard of living, combat against crime and corruption, and beat the regime of Boris Tadic and Ivica Dacic". Preserving the country's territorial integrity, according to him, will also be one of the SNS goals, while the party will have "a clear opposition stance". Even though it has yet to participate in its first election, the SNS has 21 seats in the Serbian parliament, all of them formerly belonging to the SRS before the split. Victories in recent local elections indicate the growing popularity of the SNS, as do recent national polls.
Party leader: Tomislav Nikolic
Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS)
The DSS was founded in 2001 as a breakaway party from the Democratic Coalition (DOS) led by Zoran Djindjic. After the split, the party shifted to the right in its political orientation, to become a conservative party advocating liberal economic ideas. Party leader Kostunica is known as an anti-Western, anti-US democratic nationalist and supporter of the idea of a Greater Serbia. He is, however, famous for his political integrity and favours a democratic Serbia. In the 2000 September elections, after the removal of Milosevic, Kostunica was elected president in the first round. The Western countries hurried to congratulate him and assure him of their support. Kostunica accepted their embraces, but was careful to keep his distance. In the latest elections in May 2008 DSS formed a pre-election coalition with New Serbia (NS) and got 11,3% of the votes. Currently DSS is in the opposition holding 21 seats in the parliament.
Party leader: Vojislav Kostunica
G17 Plus was founded in December 2002 as a party that grew out of an non-governmental organisation pressing for economic reforms. The party has a liberal orientation, and is favoured by the international community for not being nationalist and its commitment to reforms. Economic and institutional reforms, a better life for the citizens of Serbia and integration into the European Union are its main goals. In addition, social protection of the poorest during the transition period is seen as a necessity. The party was one of the few parties in favour of ending the State Union with Montenegro.
At a party congress in September 2006, Mladjan Dinkic was elected G17 Plus' new leader.
In the 2007 and 2008 elections, G17 formed a pre-election coalition with DS. G17 currently has 21 seats in the parliament. The party is currently member of the ruling coalition and the laeder of G 17 Plus, Mladjan Dinkic is Minister of economy and regional development.
G17 plus merged into a new party, founded on 16 May 2010, called “Party of Regions” (URS). The new party is made up of Together for Sumadija, I Live for Krajina, the National Party, the Vojvodina Party and G17 Plus. The leader of the new party is former G17 plus leader Mladan Dinkic.
Party leader: Mladjan Dinkic
Serbian Renewal Movement – New Serbia (SPO-NS)
The SPO was founded in 1990 as a nationalist liberal party, and was throughout the1990s together with the Democratic Party, the most influential opposition party. According to the SPO’s programme the party is a nationalist party with a liberal, civic and democratic orientation. It would like to introduce a constitutional parliamentary monarchy in Serbia and emphasises the importance of keeping together the state, including. The party attributes much importance to Christian norms and sees the family the cornerstone of society. The party is in favour of becoming a member of the European Union as soon as possible.
In the parliamentary elections of 11 May 2008 the SPO constituted part of coalition For European Serbia, under the President Boris Tadic. The SPO took four seats (out of the coalition’s 102) and its vice president Srdan Sreckovic occupied the ministry of Diaspora.
In the same election, NS formed a coalition with the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) and won 9 seats.
Party leaders: Vuk Draskovic and Velimir Ilic
Website: www.spo.org.rs and www.nova-srbija.org.rs
Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS)
The SPS was founded in 1990 by Slobodan Milosevic and is the successor to the League of Communists. Under his rule the party controlled state property, police and media, and where the SPS lost power, the party of his wife Mira Markovic, Yugoslav Left (JUL) stepped in to fill the vacuum. In 2000 it was defeated by DOS and after massive street demonstrations Milosevic had to step down.
Until his death on Slobodan Milosevic formally remained the leader of the party, while he was in The Hague, being on trail before the ICTY. Meanwhile, Ivica Dacic headed the steering committee and profiled himself as the most prominent leader. After the death of Milosevic analysts expects that a power struggle may further weaken the party. Rumours go that he party wants to get rid of Milosevic’s heritage and that some persons want to transform the party into a modern leftist party. The party lost votes in the latest elections, however still has considerable political influence since the minority government is dependent on the support of SPS and there are other nationalist parties that share interests with SPS.
In parliamentary election of 2008 the SPS and the Party of United Pensioners of Serbia (PUPS) strengthened their links by forming a coalition, on which United Serbia and Movement of Veterans of Serbia were present. The coalition won 20 seats with 7.58% of the votes. SPS and its coalition partners entered post-election coalition with For a European Serbia and formed the current government. The leader of the SPS, Ivica Dacic, is deputy of the Prime Minister and Minster of internal affairs. By entering a pro-European coalition with DS, SPS saved the country from a right wing radical coalition.
The SPS wants to join the Socialist International. However there is still some opposition within Socialist International to inviting the SPS, notably from the Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Party leader: Ivica Dacic
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
On 5 November 2005 Cedomir Jovanovic and several other former members of the Democratic Party with links to murdered Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic founded the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Jovanovic, who was elected chairman, called for a "radical break" with unspecified current political practices and for an "open confrontation with the past." In the parliamentary elections of May 2008 the LDP got 5.2 % of the votes and 13 seats. Party leader Jovanovic repeatedly offered Tadic a hand in forming a new government after the 2008 elections, providing the DS change its policy on Kosovo, in recognising Kosovo as an independent state. However, the DS did not change its policy and the LDP has been an opposition party ever since.
Party leader: Cedomir Jovanovic
Tomislav Nikolić describes himself as a moderate nationalist, but has a more radical past. After losing the presidential election in both 2004 and 2008 against Boris Tadic, Nikolić was elected President in 2012. Nikolić comes from a workers family and started his political career in the early 90s in the People’s Radical Party which on Nikolić initiative merged with the Serbian Chetnik Movement into the Serbian Radical Party (SRS). He quickly climbed the ladder up to vice-president of the SRS, a far-right nationalist party. The party was led in the 90s by Vojislav Šešelj, who stands trial in the Hague Tribunal for alleged war crimes. In 2008 Nikolić left the SRS and started the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), after a dispute between him Šešelj. Nikolić had become in favour of Serbia joining the EU, while Šešelj remained firmly opposed. In 2012 Nikolić stepped down as leader of the SNS as he became president. While Nikolić firmly states to be in favour of EU accession, critics call on his nationalistic past and position towards Russia. Nikolić wishes to intensify ties with Moscow and aims for Serbia as a country within the EU that will support Russia. "On the one hand I support the membership in the EU but at the same time as a politician I intend to do everything to develop relations with Russia,” Nikolić stated.
Until 2008 Nikolić was known to be a supporter of a Greater Serbia, although he was not in favour of any imperialistic politics he stated in 2004 that this would remain ‘a dream’ for him and other leaders of the radical party. A few days before the 2012 elections, Nikolić stated that the territorial integrity of neighbouring countries can not be questioned and that his former opinions were no longer valid. Many controversies continue to follow Nikolić and his role during the war in 90’s, among them his refusal to apologize for stating "I don’t regret that Slavko Curuvija was murdered” referring to the murder of this famous journalist in 1999. Short after his election as president Nikolić denied Srebrenica being genocide and called Vukovar a Serbian town, which sparked international outrage.
Tomislav Nikolić is married and has two sons and five grandchilderen.
leader of the Democratic Party (DS)
Boris Tadic was born on 15 January 1958 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovian. He graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Belgrade with a degree in social psychology. Tadic was a member of the anti-communist dissident movement in Yugoslavia in the 1980s and was arrested and imprisoned several times by the communist authorities. Tadic worked as a teacher of psychology and as a military clinical psychologist. In 1997 he founded the Centre for the Development of Democracy and Political Skills, which he directed until 2002. This NGO focuses on political and civil education, and the development of the political culture and dialogue. At the same time, until 2003, he was also a lecturer of political advertising at the Faculty of Drama at the University of Belgrade
Boris Tadic has been a member of the Democratic Party since 1990, and served as its deputy leader, before he was elected as the party leader in 2004 and re-elected in 2006. In 2000, in the months following the overthrowing of the Milosevic regime, he served as Minister of Telecommunications in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. From March 2003 to April 2004 he was the Minister of Defence of Serbia and Montenegro, instituting democratic reforms and transforming the military to be NATO compliant. Boris Tadic was elected as President of Serbia for a five-year term in June 2004.
Since becoming president Tadic has consolidated Serbia’s democracy. He has the image of a pragmatist who is popular especially among young and professional Serbs. He supports a democratic, pro-European, free-market course for Serbia and has played an essential role in bringing Serbia closer toward EU membership. In the 2012 presidential elections Tadic lost in a close call to the nationalistic Tomislav Nikolic.
Boris Tadic is married an has two daughters.
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Internal Affairs
Ivica Dacic was born in Prizren, Serbia on 1 January 1966. He graduated from the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade. From 1992 he was a member of the Citizens’ Council of the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Dacic became a member of the Socialist Party of Serbia under Slobodan Milosevic. The party went into opposition with the ousting of Milosevic in 2000. Since then Dacic has invested in transforming the party. By choosing the pro-European coalition with the DS, he prevented the formation of a right wing radical coalition. Dacic favours younger party officials within his party and is the promoter of the so-called new socialism. From October 2000 until January 2001 he was Information Minister in the so-called transitional Serbian government. Dacic became a member of the Serbian Parliament in 2004 and was a candidate in the presidential elections that year. He came in fifth with 3.6 percent of the vote. In 2006 Dacic was elected leader of the Socialist Party of Serbia. The Socialists returned to government in 2008. Since then, Dacic serves as First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs in the government of Mirko Cvetkovic. Dacic has expressed his commitment to achieving EU membership. In December 2010 he was unanimously re-elected as chairman of the SPS. Previously, Dacic was also President of Partizan Belgrade basketball club, and Vice President of the Yugoslav Olympics Committee.
Ivica Dacic is married and has two children.
Leader of SDU
Zarko Korac was born on 9 March 1947 in Belgrade. He teaches psychology at the faculty of philosophy at the University of Belgrade. He was one of the founders of the Social Democratic Union. Between 2001 and 2003 Korac was Deputy Prime Minister, and briefly Prime Minister (on 17 and 18 March 2003), following the assassination of Zoran Dindic. Korac is currently a member of the Serbian parliament. He has taken a firm stance against nationalism and is pro-European.
Leader of LSV
Nenad Canak was born on 2 November 1959 in Pancevo, in the Serbian province of Vojvodina. Canak went to the high musical school in Novi Sad. After having graduated at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Novi Sad, Canak specialized in marketing and computer networks. He founded the League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina in 1990 and served as President of the Assembly of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina from 2000 until 2004. Since then he has been a member of parliament.
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