Sunday, January 21, 2007

Election in Serbia: What you need to know

According to the latest data released by the Republican Commission, the next parliament in Serbia will have the following makeup:

Out of 250 seats,

1. 81 seats will go to the Serb Radical Party (SRS) -This party is lead by Vojislav Sheshel- a war crime suspect who is being tried for war crimes in the Hague. The SRS is considered to be an extremist anti-western party. In the last parliament the party was the largest in the Serbia parliament, and it appears it will maintain that position in the next parliament.

2. 65 seats will go to the-Democratic Party (DS)- This party is lead by the current president of Serbia, Boris Tadic. Most people consider this party to be a moderate and pro western party. DS appears to be the biggest winner of this election- it almost doubled the number of deputies from 37 in the last parliament to 65 in the next one. The next Prime Minister of Serbia will most likely come from this party.

3. 47 seats will go to the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS-NS),which is lead by the current PM of Serbia Vojislav Kostunica. Generally speaking the DSS-NS is considered to be a mildly nationalist party. In the last election the DSS-NS was the second largest party with 53 seats versus 47 seats in the next parliament. Mr. Kostunica will be the biggest looser of this election- he most likely will have to give up the seat of PM.

4. 19 seats will go to the G17 Group- a political party lead by business leaders who concerns itself mostly with economic issues. This grouping of people are considered to be very moderate. G17 appears to have lost almost half of its electorate - from 34 deputies in the last parliament to 19 in the next one. It appears that some of its former voters voted for the Democratic Party of President Tadic.

5. 16 seats will go to the Socialist Party of Serbia(SPS), whose previous leader was Slobodan Milosevic who died in the Hague last year. SPS ruled Serbia during most of 1990's. In the last election this party had 22 seats. After the death of Milosevic the SPS seems to be in a decline. Most of its electorate are now voting for the SRS of Vijislav Sheshel.

6. 15 seats will go to the Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP) who is lead by former Foreign Minister Cedomir Jovanovic. LDP is new party that split from the Democratic Party a few years ago. It is considered to be on of the most Liberal and anti-nationalist parties in Serbia. It's head is the only significant Serb leader that supports the Independence of Kosovo. Until recently pundits were saying that this party will not even be able to pass the minimum 5% to enter the parliament. LDP appears to have pulled a small electoral upset.

Other parties:

SPO of current Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic didn't even make the required 5% to enter the parliament. That 's got to hurt!

Another interesting thing appears to to be the very weak showings of minority parties who were able to capture only 7 seats or 2.8% of overall seats. This is significant because minorities make about 18% of the population of Serbia. Albanian parties of Presevo Valley did not manage to get even one seat in the next Serbian Parliament ( they were expecting two). I am not clear why minority parties faired badly, but it probably has to do with election laws. Another possibility is that minorities did not vote in great numbers.

Next Government?

All I can say is that there will be stalemate for weeks to come. Its hard to envision a coalition being formed easily unless the current PM willingly gives up the posts and agrees to support the Democratic Party. The most likely coalition will be between DS-DSS-G17-LPD. The next Prime Minister will most likely come from the DS.

Ferik F.- Balkan Update.


Milentivs said...

The reason why the nat. minority parties got so few seats is because they opted for the DS (mainly), as well as G17 and/or the LDP. For example, this is the first time in 17 years that the Hungarian SVM (Union of Voivodina Hungarians) got less votes in (the northern city of) Subotica than did the DS.

The electoral law has been changed and the minorities no longer need to meet the threshold requirement. As you know, 5% is the threshold for non-minority parties, whereas the parties such as the SVM need only reach the "natural threshold" - which is 0.4% (1 seat for every 14,000 or so votes in this case). They received 1.2% of the total votes cast, hence the three seats.

The Presevo Albanians did get in. They have secured 1 seat. Might've been more but two out of the four Albanian parties decided to sit this one out. A couple of weeks before the election, the two parties pulled out of the coalition.

Balkan Update said...

Thanks for that explanation! The threshold for minorities seems fair and in line with the region. I am still curious to know why minorities voted for the DS in such big numbers? Could you shed some light on that? It also appears to me that the minority parties in Serbia are not as developed compared to the region.