Serbia: Day 93

So Serbia still has no government.

I posted a while back that they had 90 days to form one after the January 23 election. Not true! They have 90 days after the first session of the new Parliament. That was on February 14. So they have 17 more days.

Still, three months without a government is pretty awesome. It totally blows past their old record of 70 days from 2004. Go team!

As to why this is happening… I don’t usually quote wholesale from other blogs, but Eric Gordy of eastethnia has pretty much nailed it:

As the weeks drag on from January’s elections in Serbia, there is still no governing coalition in sight. SRS [Serbian Radicals, the populist-nationalist party] got more seats than any other party, but no party will enter into a coalition with it. DSS took a distant third, but cannot countenance the possibility of losing complete control over both the premiership and the “power” ministries. DS leads the pack among the Loose Grouping of Parties That Are Not SRS, but is demanding more than DSS is willing to give. G-17+ is happy just to be there, and LDP is not on anybody’s list of coalition partners nor does it want to be.

Today the junior partner of DSS, Velimir Ilić, floated the possibility that everyone has been muttering under their breath since the elections: that DSS and whatever the heck his party is called would try to form a minority government with the support of SRS, which would be handed control over the parliament. It is not as implausible as it sounds, since DSS has experience with governing as a minority with distasteful backbench support, and DSS has more in common with SRS than with its other potential coalition partners. A government of this type would be short-lived, chaotic, and phenomenally unsuccessful, and at the cost of doing lasting damage to the country would have the beneficial side effect of demolishing DSS. A victory worthy of Pyrrhus of Epirus, in the eyes of some.

Naturally, it is not to be. SRS quickly declared that they were not disposed to carry the weight of another party’s failure, and Mr Ilić’s effort to scare his coalition partners into submission backfired. So now it is back to pretending to carry out negotiations with people he fully intends to stab in the back, and to treating the electorate as though its principal duty is to assure that anybody who once controlled a ministry will always have large quantities of public property at their disposal.

That last point: ouch.

So new elections are starting to look like a real possibility. The squabbling parties might pull of a last-minute compromise, but if not, then it’s back to the polls.

Of course, an election in June would probably not produce a government before September. (Because nothing happens in the Balkans in August.) So, we could potentially be looking at eight or nine months without a government. Would that be some kind of record?

3 thoughts on “Serbia: Day 93

  1. Well personally speaking I’ve had more than enough of this. My patience is wearing extremely thin indeed. I’d like to think that this sentiment is shared by the majority of Serbian citizens but people are so used to being badly treated here by politicians nobody really realises how bad all of this is.

    This DSS flirting with SRS is enough to make one reach for the bucket. Its cheap, populistic and in my view, manipulation. Eric has it right saying that a minority SRS supported government could destroy DSS. More importantly it would likely destroy SRS, or at least the longer it lasted, the more support would peel away from SRS. Thats one of the main reasons why such a government would not last.

    So, what to do? To say ‘hell with this give us an unholy DSS/SRS supported government so that emboldened reform minded parties may return to government soon after with radical measures in mind’?

    Or is it the ‘we must make sure this does not succeed at all costs’ view? The problem being that the SRS problem will not go away and the stop-start reform process will continue chugging along as DSS is forced kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

    This is truly sickening, nobody and I mean nobody deserves this kind of vermin to rule them. The kind of people that put their own interests ahead of the good of the country. The kind of people that dont even understand that if they rule in the interest of the country in the short term they can still steal and cheat in the future and probably gain more benefit from it.

    I wrote at the Belgrade Blog recently that some government spokesman said that there was ‘plenty of time’ to form a government. Yeah plenty of time, lets postpone potential new elections and impose a deadline of a century or so for formation of the government.

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