That’s the clock ticking down the last months of the current Serbian government.
The ruling coalition, never stable, is visibly crumbling. The Socialists — Milosevic’s old party — were supporting it, but they’re split down the middle now, and may bolt over the appointment of a new foreign minister.
(Serbia never had a foreign minister before, because that position was held by the federal government of Serbia-and-Montenegro. But when Montenegro left in May, the federal government ceased to exist, so now Serbia and Montenegro both need their own FMs. The obvious solution would be to appoint Vuk Draskovic, former federal FM, to the new Serbian position. But the Socialists hate Draskovic’s guts. It’s a feud going back 15 years or more. Long story, but basically, it’s the sort of hatred that you’d expect a bunch of provincial Communists turned vaguely left-wing populist nationalists to feel towards a former pseudo-dissident journalist/novelist turned vaguely right-wing mystical nationalist.)
The government is coughing blood. On a recent key vote (appointing a new deputy prime minister), it came within a whisker of collapsing, just barely managing to muster 126 votes out of 250.
Meanwhile G17 — which is sort of the Europhile-technocrat urban liberal party — has said that it will leave the government coalition on October 1, unless talks with the EU have started up again by then. Talks with the EU will not start unless accused war criminal Ratko Mladic shows up for his appointment with the Hague. Right now that seems unlikely.
So, elections in Serbia, probably this autumn, almost certainly by early next year.
This is not likely to be a good thing. While the current government has its faults, it’s very unlikely that it will be replaced by anything better… and all too possible it could be something worse.
On the plus side, at least the Serbs are letting Montenegro go in peace. It looks like most of the muttering and blustering of March and April — stuff like Montenegrins losing their benefits, or being forced to choose citizenship — was just bluff. That’s really good news. So there’s that.