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Serbian Government Urges New Elections

March 10, 2008 02:44 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The collapse of President Boris Tadic's coalition government prompted a call on Monday for new elections. Kosovo's independence is shaking Serbia.

30-Second Summary

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On Saturday, Serbian Prime Minister Vojsilav Kostunica announced that he was dissolving his government coalition with President Boris Tadic because of the president’s views on Kosovo and European Union membership.

Tadic and his pro-Western Democratic Party believe that Serbia should forge a closer relationship with the EU and Washington, despite those entities having recognized Kosovo.

Kostunica, however, insists that EU membership should be predicated on the bloc’s refusal to acknowledge Kosovo's claim to independence.

Tadic has informally agreed to call for May elections as the government requested. But until the May 11 elections are held, the government will continue in a limited capacity.

Serbian commentator Zoran Dogramadziev told The New York Times that “this upcoming election will be crucial to the future of Serbia because it will determine if Serbia goes back to the isolationism of the Milosevic years or chooses a European future.”

The dissolution of Serbia’s governing coalition comes after protesters stormed the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade in late February, in response to Kosovo’s secession from Serbia. 

Nationalists such as Kostunica consider Kosovo a historical part of the Serbian homeland. Ljiljana Smajlovic, the editor in chief of the Belgrade-based daily Politika, decries the West’s support of Kosovo. He argues that while Belgrade has done “everything by the book” since Slobodan Milosevic’s departure, Kosovo’s Albanian majority has persecuted Serbs.

However, an editorial from USA Today touts the benefits of stronger ties with the West, writing that “the hard reality is that Kosovo is not going to be part of Serbia again.”

Headline Link: ‘Serbia Gov't Calls for Early Elections’

Background: The end of Serbia’s coalition and Kosovo independence

Opinion & Analysis: Debating Kosovo and Serbia’s future with the West

Taiwan and Kosovo
‘West's Stubborn Support for Kosovo Independence’
Serbia must forget about Kosovo

Key Players: Boris Tadic and Vojislav Kostunica

Historical Context: The break-up of Yugoslavia

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