Serbia’s government seems to be collapsing.
The cause is, of course, Kosovo. Most of the EU countries have now recognized independent Kosovo, which pretty strongly implies that they won’t accept a Serbia that still claims Kosovo into the EU.
Last week, the nationalist Serbian Radical Party introduced a resolution in parliament calling on the EU to â€œclearly and unambiguouslyâ€ confirm Serbiaâ€™s territorial integrity as a condition for further European integration. Since 16 of 27 EU members have now recognized Kosovo, this was not likely to happen. But PM Kostunica’s party went along with it. The other coalition partners in the government, the Democratic Party and G17 Plus, said that they wouldn’t support the resolution. (They said its aim was not the defense of Kosovo, but putting a halt to European integration.)
Kostunica then said that he “no longer had confidence in the sincerity of his coalition partners to fight for Kosovo,” and before anyone quite knew what was happening the government had collapsed.
It’s a bit of a surprise. I expected the government to survive, largely because almost everyone is afraid of new elections. But the Radicals seem to have decided that it’s worth rolling the dice; they seem to think they won’t lose seats and, in the general mood of national funk following the loss of Kosovo, may gain. They might be right. What’s less clear to me is why PM Kostunica went along with the Radical resolution. My best guess is that his nationalist rhetoric of the last few weeks has been so strong that he’s really painted himself into a corner.
Anyway, it looks like elections will be on May 11. More on this in a bit, I’m sure.