Still no government in Serbia.
Parliamentary elections were held on January 21. It’s now March 1. The parties are still unable to agree. The previous ministers are staying on as a “transition” government.
Last time around — three years ago, early 2004 — it took them about 70 days. So I wouldn’t hold my breath. Article 109 of the new Serbian Constitution requires that a government be formed within 90 days, or Parliament gets dissolved and new elections called. It would not surprise me to see the various political parties, through stubbornness and brinksmanship, go right up to that line.
Why is it taking so long, again? Well, I have two working theories.
1) It’s an artifact of the weird political situation in Serbia. The biggest party, the populist and ultra-nationalist Radicals, are pariahs; nobody dares form a government with them. But without the radicals, the next two biggest parties — Democrats and Serbian Democrats — must join together, along with a minor party or two. And these two parties hate each other a lot. So they’re not going to reach an agreement easily, or soon.
2) It has something to do with the Serbian national character. It may be that the Serbs, like the Italians, just have trouble making parliamentary democracy work smoothly.
I don’t have a clear favorite yet among these two.