By pure coincidence, next month brings not one but two major turning points for Serbia.
First, there’s the Ahtisaari plan for Kosovo. As we all know, the plan would give Kosovo de facto independence. On one hand, that’s just recognizing reality on the ground; 90% of Kosovo’s population wants nothing to do with Serbia, and they’ve been running their own house for almost a decade now. On the other hand, it would involve UN approval of the involuntary dismemberment of an unwilling member state. That’s never happened before, and it would be a big step into the unknown.
The plan goes before the UN Security Council next week, and it’s really not clear what will happen. Either Russia or China might veto it — Russia because of its traditional support of Serbia, China because of concerns about Taiwan. On the other hand, neither one may want to be responsible for vetoing a plan that has broad support in both the Security Council and the General Assembly.
Meanwhile, Serbia’s quarrelsome parties are still trying to form a government. They’ve been at it since the elections on January 21, so as of today they’ve gone 67 days without success. That would be amusing, except that if a government isn’t formed within 90 days, Serbia’s Constitution requires new elections. That would throw Serbia into a major political crisis.
Here’s the thing: I could see either of these going either way. The UNSC might approve the Ahtisaari plan, or reject it; Serbia’s parties might reach agreement, or not.
So how about a betting pool?
There are four possible outcomes here: plan passes and government forms, plan but no government, government but no plan, neither government nor plan. Furthermore, since it’s unclear when the UNSC will sit and decide, we could get the plan decision before the government decision, or vice versa. So that makes eight possibilities. Pick one!
I’ll start: I think the Serbs will form a government. I think it will happen at the very last moment, but it’s just hard to imagine they’d be so foolish and so stubborn as to trigger new elections. (Because new elections would favor the Radicals and man, nobody wants that.)
I think the plan will fail. If Russia doesn’t veto it, China will.
And I think the plan decision will come first… the UNSC might foot-drag past April 21, but I’m guessing they’ll cut the knot before then.
Those are my guesses. What do you think?