Monday, May 12, 2008

Serbian elections: Lupus non curat numerum ovium

Yesterday I went to sleep rather late. As I am following with a big interest the political situation in Serbia, it was really impossible not to watch the first declarations of main political leaders after closure of polling stations and promulgation of preliminary unofficial results.

Frankly speaking the results themselves were not surprising for me. They were also not surprising for the main competitors. Much more interesting were the comments of the results of election given by European media. Most of them declared that the arithmetical majority of votes gained by the block “For a European Serbia”, led by the President of country and the leader of Democratic party Boris Tadic, means the total victory of this political force and the total support of its ideas of the fast European integration by the majority of citizens of Serbia.

I was watching a live translation of the post-electoral-Belgrad speeches on the Euronews. The first political leader who gave speech and press-conference after 21.00 be Belgrad time was – who could doubt that – Boris Tadic. The tone of his words was a bit aggressive as he was speaking as a unique winner. “Mr. Kostunica will not be prime-minister anymore… I will form coalition and I will decide who will be appointed as the prime-minister” – he said.

What Mr. Tadic did not take into the account is that a good knowledge of arithmetic is not the same with good political skills.

According to the exit-polls’ results printed that night (my source of information for that moment was the Euronews channel), the block of Mr. Tadich had won 35,06 %. At the same time, the ultra-nationalist rivals of Tadic – Tomislav Nikolic's Serb Radical Party (SRS) had 28,21 %. The result of the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS-NS) of current prime-minister Vojislav Kostunica was more moderate – 15,21 %. The Socialist Party of Serbia had 10,75 %.

Figures from the Electoral Commission (RIK) announced at midnight last night show that the “For a European Serbia” coalition received 36.69 percent of the vote, and will have 102 seats in the next parliament. With votes counted from 33.91 percent of polling stations, the SRS received 28.57 percent of the vote (80 seats), the DSS-NS received 13.54 percent of the vote or 37 seats, and the Socialist party coalition won 9.14 percent of the vote (25 seats in parliament).

For the moment I am writing this text, the official results don’t differ much from the figures mentioned above.
One should not be a big expert – not in politics, nor in mathematics – to predict that leader of Radical Party of Serbia Tomislav Nikolic and Vojislav Kostunica may form a lively coalition with the participation of Socialists. The electoral rhetoric of all of them was not very different, but in lot of issues opposite to the slogans of president’s block.

I can remind that the main difference between Tadic and Nikolic (and Kostunica) was in their estimation of Kosovo’s declared independence. All of them promised to Serbs not to recognize Kosovo as an independent state (Mr. Tadic vowed his new government would not recognize Kosovo as an independent state). But at the same time the President’s goal is integration to the European Union, whatever happens in Kosovo, while the goal of two others is to stop any moves towards EU until all its countries (most EU countries) withdraw their recognition of independence of Kosovo.

Kosovo's declaration of independence was a major reason for Serbian early election. The disagreement over what action should be taken brought down the previous coalition between the Democratic Party and Vojislav Kostunica's nationalist Democratic Party of Serbia.

Dragging on with the arithmetic, we can easily see the following results of the election in Serbia: the European idea of President Tadic is supported only by 35-37 % of Serbs. More than 42-43% (results of Nikolic plus Kostunica) of the citizens of Serbia support radical idea.

Who will form the ruling coalition and whether it will be formed – nobody knows yet. Lupus non curat numerum ovium.

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