Serbia Current Politics

The change only came when V. Koštunica (DSS), candidate of the opposition alliance »Democratic Opposition of Serbia« (DOS), was elected to succeed the Yugoslav President S. Milošević on September 24, 2000. Although Milošević initially tried to manipulate the election result, after two weeks of protests (including a general strike) and a “peaceful revolution” (October 5th; Belgrade center) he was finally forced to accept the election results and to resign. In Serbia, the Democratic Opposition of Serbia and the Socialist Party of Serbia agreed on the formation of a transitional government including the Serbian Renewal Party; with Milomir Minić the Socialist Party of Serbia once again provided the Prime Minister of Serbia (from October 24th). On October 10, 2000, the EU decided to lift the sanctions against Yugoslavia; Reconstruction and economic development of the country should be financially supported. In the new parliamentary elections for Serbia on December 23, 2000, the DOS alliance was again able to win a convincing election: 64% of the votes and 176 of the 250 seats in parliament. The second strongest political force and faction in parliament was the Socialist Party of Serbia around Milošević (13.8%; 37 seats); the Yugoslav Left and the Serbian Renewal Party lost all political influence. Djindjić became Prime Minister of the first non-communist Serbian government since World War II on January 25, 2001. He was faced with the task of successfully implementing the economic reform and democratization of the country that had begun with the “peaceful revolution” and thereby solving the “great historical problems” that had built up under the Milošević regime. In southern Serbia, v. a. in the Preševo ​​valley, one of the KFOR The border area between Kosovo and Macedonia, which is difficult to control and has a substantial Albanian population (around 75,000), intensified ethnic tensions from spring 2000 onwards from repeated attacks by Albanian militants and separatists on Serbian police officers and soldiers. In March 2001 they expanded into a threatened new case of conflict for the entire region through attacks on Macedonia. The government around Djindjić rejected the special status (autonomy) or connection to Kosovo desired by the militant Albanians in southern Serbia with extensive military restraint and continued to strive for a political solution. According to an agreement of June 1999 between KFOR and the then Serbian government, the area had been declared a five-kilometer-wide demilitarized security and buffer zone, but from the end of 1999 it had become a deployment and retreat area for Albanian separatists in both countries. Complete demilitarization of the area, monitored by international observers, was called for in order to resolve the conflict. In mid-March 2001, NATO (KFOR peacekeeping force) and Yugoslavia therefore concluded a deployment agreement for the gradual deployment of Yugoslav troops into the entire buffer zone until the end of May. The so-called »Liberation Army of Preševo, Medvedja and Bujanovać« (UÇMB), who obtained logistical support from Kosovo, was persuaded to give up their terrorist activities after heavy fighting in mid-May 2001 in exchange for negotiations; At the end of May she agreed to dissolve herself.

Arrest and extradition of S. Milosevic to the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague by the Serbian Prime Minister Djindjic (1. 4 and 28, 6) in 2001 as generally its course faster Vergangenheitsbewältigung deepened tensions to Yugoslav President Kostunica become a veritable power struggle; apparently since the departure of the DSS from the Serbian government coalition (August 2001) he – inter alia. over a controversial labor law – in sharpness too. At the end of January 2002 Vojvodina was granted autonomy rights again by the Serbian parliament; in January / February 2003 Djindjić surprised with ideas for negotiations on the final status of Kosovo or its possible division. – Mediation by the EU led on March 14, 2002 to the framework agreement (»Belgrade Agreement«) on the reorganization of previous intra-Yugoslav relations, which after constitutional reform (end of January / beginning of February 2003) resulted in the proclamation of the new state union of Serbia and Montenegro. – The murder of Djindjić in Belgrade on March 12, 2003 by a sniper presumably on behalf of the old political nomenclature, which led to the brief imposition of a state of emergency, shook the country and revealed the fragility of the reform process so far. Zoran Živković (also DS) was elected as his successor on March 18.

In November 2003, the party alliance DOS dissolved; in the new elections in December, the extremely nationalist Serbian Radical Party (SRS) became the strongest force. It was not until March 3, 2004 that Koštunica succeeded in forming a minority cabinet made up of the DSS, the G17 economic party and the royalist renewal movement. After renewed violence between Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo in March 2004, riots broke out across Serbia. After three ballots to fill the presidential office, which had been vacant since the end of M. Milutinović’s mandate in December 2002, had failed due to the low turnout, the chairman of the Democratic Party (DS), Boris Tadić, was finally able to vote on June 27, 2004 to prevail in a runoff election against the candidate of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS), Tomislav Nikolić.

Negotiations with the EU on a Stabilization and Association Agreement, which began in 2005, were temporarily suspended in 2006-07 because Serbia was accused of unwillingness to cooperate with the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague. – Already in June 2006 the union of states with Montenegro broke up after a referendum there had led to the proclamation of independence (June 3rd) by the parliament. On June 5, 2006, the Serbian parliament also declared the state union to be over, the legal successor of which was Serbia. In the parliamentary elections in January 2007, the extremely nationalist SRS emerged as the strongest political force with around 29% of the votes, followed by DS (23%) and DSS (17%). The parties belonging to the democratic camp continued to have a majority in parliament. Koštunica a coalition government made up of DS, DSS and G17 Plus. The first round of the presidential elections on January 20, 2008 was won by the candidate of the Serbian Radical Party, Nikolić, ahead of incumbent Tadić. From the runoff election scheduled for the 3rd 2nd, Tadić emerged as the winner with a narrow margin of votes.

In November 2005, according to Youremailverifier, negotiations began on the future status of the UN-administered Serbian province of Kosovo. Serbia (supported by Russia) categorically rejected the plan presented by UN mediator M. Ahtisaari in March 2007 for a “monitored independence” for Kosovo and instead proposed extensive autonomy for the province, which is predominantly inhabited by Albanians. When mediation efforts by a “troika” made up of negotiators from the EU, Russia and the USA failed to produce a compromise solution, the status negotiations were officially declared to have failed in December 2007. Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence on February 17, 2008 provoked sharp reactions and sometimes violent protests in Serbia. President Tadić announced that it would not accept the provincial detachment.

Because of the dispute over future relations with the EU, the already fragile coalition government broke up, and Koštunica announced his resignation in March 2008. New elections on May 11, 2008 resulted in a victory for the pro-European electoral alliance of Tadić; however, forming a government proved difficult. Only after weeks of negotiations did the pro-European forces and the SPS form a coalition government, which was confirmed by the Serbian parliament on July 7, 2008. The non-party politician M. Cvetković became the new Prime Minister. – At the beginning of May 2008, the EU concluded a Stabilization and Association Agreement with Serbia.

Serbia Current Politics