Serbia: Day 109, and over

At the last possible moment, they pulled it out. Serbia has a new government.

Prime Minister Kostunica will stay Prime Minister. Some ministries will be shuffled; control over state security will be divided (since, in Serbia, nobody trusts a rival party to control this). Oh, and they’ll kick the Radical leader out of his position as Speaker of the Parliament.

The new government will probably be weak and consumed by constant internal bickering and backstabbing. But it’s still much better than the alternative of a Radical (opportunistic, vaguely fascistic populist-nationalist) government.

Also: 109 days to form a government. That’s pretty impressive. It’s much better than their previous record of 70 days from 2004. This one will be hard to beat.

Still, here’s a tentative prediction: just as the Italians have a habit of short-lived governments, the Serbs are going to have a habit of long post-election wrangling periods. I’d bet a euro that after the next election — two, three, or four years from now — the next government won’t be formed for at least 60 days.

Speaking of bets, seven weeks ago I bet that Serbia would form a new government at the last possible moment. I was right! But I also bet that before this happened, the UN Security Council would make a decision on Kosovo. I was wrong… Oh, well, that’s 1-for-2.

So, that’s sorted. On to Eurovision!

Consider this an open thread.

This entry was posted in A Fistful Of Euros, Governments and parties by Douglas Muir. Bookmark the permalink.

About Douglas Muir

American with an Irish passport. Does development work for a big international donor. Has been living in Eastern Europe for the last six years -- first Serbia, then Romania, and now Armenia. Calls himself a Burkean conservative, which would be a liberal in Germany but an unhappy ex-Republican turned Democrat in the US. Husband of Claudia. Parent of Alan, David, Jacob and Leah. Likes birds. Writes Halfway Down The Danube. Writes Halfway Down The Danube.

3 thoughts on “Serbia: Day 109, and over

  1. Indeed. Douglas’ last comment “so that’s sorted. On to Eurovision!” was deeply prescient. Who would have thought that installing a non-psychopathic government was a mere step towards garnering sufficient political support for the Serbian entry?

    But then, Eurovision has a habit of putting the most fundamental questions of identity, culture and politics into stark relief. Will the 12 points from Estonia shift the target of Russia’s two-minute hate sessions elsewhere? Is the 12 points to Armenia from Turkey a first step towards Truth and Reconciliation? Has the Yugoslav civil war been forgiven and forgotten? Will the attachment of Turkish emigrants towards Turkey hinder their successful integration into Western Europe? Is the fact that they managed to make most of Western Europe award 12 points to Turkey a sign of our imminent dhimmification? Were those Russian vixens hot or what? Would the song contest even be bearable without Sir Terry?

    The policy implications are clear: no referendum on EU enlargement should be scheduled shortly after Eurovision. Retrospective support for the Iron Curtain must have risen significantly in all of Western Europe. (In spite of the fact that only the Hungarian Blues was worth listening to)

    Eurovision: So bad, it’s good!

  2. Allegations of “neighbourly voting”, especially in regards to “Eastern Europe” or the Balkans seem to indeed have been frequently made this day… Yet if one, crudely but effectively, cleaves the continent in two halves: an Eastern one (including all the ex-commie countries and those around the Eastern Medterranean, the latter partially due to their general scary Balkan-ness and partially due to convenience) and a Western one (including everyone else, natch), one finds that the results are mostly staggeringly similar.

    While Western entries typically do a little better if measured withou t the Eastern votes taken into account (Sweden being the main beneficiary, but only as a result of the unabashed, balls-out Nordic neighbour-voting that has long since been established beyond reasonable doubt. Interestingly enough, if the Baltic states are factored in with the Western ones, Finland manages to not do too poorly either, perhaps either casting doubts on that country’s “Western-ness” or in fact establishing some of that alleged “Nordic-ness” of the Baltics, which some have attributed to them in a kind attempt to rescue these fine and deserving people from belonging to Eastern Europe), the only reasonable (if far from verified) suspicions of “buddy voting” would apply to Macedonia, Moldova, Slovenia and Belarus (where in each case the country’s score sinks like a rock once Eastern half votes are filtered out).

    On the other hand, in a an “ironic” twist of fate, Turkey and Hungary actually were doing generally *better* score-wise in the Western half than in the Eastern (though in at least the former case, it is most certainly a case of local Turkish populations managing to hold the national 12:s of several countries “hostage”, probably due to general low interest in voting from the rest of the population), and taken all by itself, the Eastern half would actually have voted in Russia as the winner by a small margin (Serbia and the tin-foil babuschka of Ukraine would share the runner-up spot). Furthermore, Ireland holds the dubious distinction of only being saved by the “nul” due to one of the countries in the Eastern bloc in the form of a downright bizzarre 5-point vote from Albania.

    As for the winner being from Serbia, one might have hoped that Europe (well, the glitzy, tone-deaf portion of it, anyhow) coming to Belgrade next year would have helped easer tensions and make understanding one another a little easier to all parties involved (or not!, what with this being the aforementioned section of Europe), but since she apparently is half-Roma, half-Muslim (and not-so-lightly has implied lesbianism), one imagines that all those hardcore nationalists and Radical voters would rather wash their hands of the whole sordid mess and accuse it of being another NATO-sponsored plot, this one far more subtle and devious than the dropping of bombs, to destroy Mother Serbia. In a better world, they might have taken the opportunity to hug Marija to their bosom like so much of a bespectacled cabbage patch doll, and in turn, this hugging might have softened something in their little gnarled, dried-out evil hearts… But alas it is likely not to be…

Comments are closed.