Posted 14.06.2012 08:52:57 UTC
Updated 07.08.2012 14:00:02 UTC
Nikoliç had raced for the presidential seat against Tadiç back in 2004 and 2008, but lost the race twice. Speaking to the press after his election victory Nikoliç said Serbia’s efforts to join EU will continue, they will protect the Serbs in Kosovo and that they will fight against corruption and poverty.
Former Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Cinciç, who was assassinated in 2003 and his successor Boris Tadiç were the symbolic names of the democratic administration in Serbia after 2000. These two leaders saw ultimate support of the west in elections to succeed against nationalist parties in the country. In the latest elections in Serbia, Western countries were not as staunch as they used to be to keep Tadiç in the rule. Above all, it is no secret that Washington and Brussels have long been dealing with more important issues. On the other hand, Tomislav Nikoliç, who used to be known for his nationalistic views, is now sending messaged to the west that he is changed now and he is an acceptable option.
One proof of his ugly past is that his former close colleague Voyislav Şeşel is being tried at Former Yugoslavia International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes. However, in 2008, Nikoliç walked separate ways with Şeşel and founded the Serbian Progressive Party, and at least opted for a verbal support for Europe and a moderate discourse. Although he hasn’t been quite persuasive on that, he adopted a constructive approach toward neighboring countries. And now, Nikoliç has a chance to clean himself from his past, to prove that his a changed man now. In fact, this is a chance presented to the whole of Serbian nation. Because of the Kosovo issue, Serbian ultra-nationalists could not transform themselves and get rid of the mindset of 1990s. Thus the positive steps Nikoliç could take as President might transform the nationalists in Serbia. And such a transformation could bring a realistic peace with neighbors.
It is possible to explain how Tadiç came to the point of losing the elections with various reasons. Above all, the victory of Nikoliç is no surprise for most analysts. In the first round, Tadiç was in front of Nikoliç, though by a small margin, and secured the support of political parties for the second round. Possibly some of the voters acted lazy thinking that Tadiç would certainly win the second round. It should also be noted that the turnout was lower in the second round. One other angle is that the electorate of Tadiç is traditionally more disciplined and makes use of their right to vote.
The election campaign of Tadiç was also a disappointment for some circles. Instead of focusing on his own promises, Tadiç spent his time by smearing Nikoliç’s campaign. The fact that Tadiç could not give a fair fight against corruption in the country is another reason of his losing the seat. In the TV debate a few days before the second round of elections, Nikoliç showed a better performance than Tadiç.
As the new Serbian president has been determined, up next is the setting up a new government. On May 6 elections none of the political parties received votes high enough to come to power alone. Traditionally, Tadiç’s Democratic Party has more potential than Nikoliç’s Serbian Progressive Party to set up a government. After May 6 elections, the coalitions led by Democratic Party and Serbian Socialist Party agreed in principle with some smaller parties to set up a government. However, it is believed that the presidential victory of Nikoliç has shaken the very foundations of the aforementioned agreements for a coalition government. At least the negotiations will be tougher now, and it will not be soon to see a government in Serbia. It is also possible to see the previous government with a few minor differences back in the rule.