On 28 August the Social Democratic Party (SDP) left the six-party minority government of Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica. Party leader Nebojsa Covic said that it is up to each individual party official to decide if he or she will stay in the party or not. The move triggered speculations about the possibility of early elections.
The SDP ran into conflict with Kostunica over the proposal of privatization of the state-run Oil Industry of Serbia (NIS), as called for by the International Monetary Fund. Covic was dismissed from his positions as chief of both the Kosovo and South Serbia Coordination Centers and fellow Social Democratic Slobodan Orlic was dismissed from his position at the head of the Information Directorate.
Serbia: Government Crisis Suggests Early Elections, RFE/RL 26 August