Monday, 4 February 2008

Presidential elections in Serbia!!!

The first round of elections has past (20th January), the second one is today.

Tomislav Nikolić of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) of course won the first round with 39.4%, Boris Tadić of the Democratic Party (DS) with 35.4%. (See CeSID)

For the Radicals, taking first place in the first round is nothing new. It happened in 2004. (Again CeSID) On the one hand, they are populists who use Patriotism and Nationalism to woo and inspire the populace, and have done so for for nearly two decades. On the other hand, that the SRS scores so well in elections is often interpreted as a protest vote against the perception of the pro-Western Democratic government having done "nothing" to improve people's lives and the economy, which many people in Serbia do hold. Fortunately, Boris Tadić (Once more, CeSID) won in the second round, and looking back, it was no doubt the best choice.

Boris Tadić has proven himself more than capable of running a country in Serbia's position, bearing in mind its recent past. Under him, Serbia has slowly improved its reputation in the world. And whenever Serbia gets a good word said for her, it's that much better for us Serbs in the Diaspora and fellow Serbs in neighbouring countries like Croatia, where I come from. Of course, good energy spreads!

Also, following last year's general elections, Serbia gained a stable government after years of political instability under a minority government, that depended on the SRS and Milošević's Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS). Therefore, one would expect that there will be enough voters in Serbia itself, who will vote for Boris Tadić in this second round, and thus not jeopardize this new found political stability that Serbia has attained. Indeed, Tadić has described these elections as having a "referendum character", between a European future, i.e. as an EU member state, and political instability and possible isolation from the world.

Back to the Diaspora, according to Serbia's very own Diaspora Minister Milica Čubrilo, Diaspora Serbs usually vote for the Democratic option. Diaspora Serbs don't want their country Serbia to go through the instability of the 90s again, and they also don't want the lives of their relatives back home to again be destabilized.

Returning to these elections, three major parties, Vojislav Koštunica's Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS), Čedomir Jovanović's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the SPS under Milutin Mrkonjić have chosen not to support either candidate in this stage of the elections. Mrkonjić's Socialists won't support either Tadić or Nikolić for ideological reasons. Koštunica's DSS has chosen not to support Tadić, because they oppose Serbia signing the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union as a form of "compensation" for the loss of the breakaway southern province of Kosovo. While Jovanović's LDP has chosen not to support Tadić, because their parties didn't reach an agreement on cooperation. The LDP at least believes their voters will be on the "right side, the side of Democracy and a European Serbia", therefore not discouraging voters from voting in the second round. While the reason the DSS has given is very impractical.

I have felt nervous today. Wasn't so nervous the previous days, but now that it's the "day of reckoning", I do feel that bit more! I really don't want Nikolić to win. I can understand why many people may vote for him, but they should really think about us in the Diaspora.

Read results:
Presidential elections in Serbia - Results

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