Serbian President Boris Tadić said he’ll call early general elections after the country’s bitterly divided coalition government fell apart over policy on Kosovo. Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica announced the collapse after failing to get the cabinet to reject closer EU ties in protest at the region’s independence. All ministers in the 25-member coalition Cabinet support preserving the territorial integrity of Serbia, but nearly half of them urged the government to end all ties with the EU, this, after many of its members granted formal recognition to the UDI of Kosovo. Prime Minister Koštunica announced his resignation earlier today, and he hopes that new elections would redistribute Cabinet posts to ensure the country’s territorial inviolability, which is currently undermined by pro-European minded ministers. President Tadić said he respected the Prime Minister’s decision and would set a date for early elections. President Tadić emphasised that Serbian economic progress was only possible in a EU framework. According to Tadić, joining the EU will certainly add to Serbia’s drive to uphold state interests regarding Kosovo. Tadić recently came to power in a bitter election, where he won a slim majority over his rival Tomislav Nikolić, a vehement opponent of the UDI of Kosovo. Koštunica is convinced that Serbia’s new parliamentary elections must be held within the terms stipulated by the Constitution. ”The government of Serbia has no united policy on Kosovo, and that’s why such a government couldn’t function any more. We should return the mandate to the people”, Koštunica said, in a clear hope to get the electorate to support Belgrade’s determination to annul Kosovo’s UDI.
9 March 2008
Voice of Russia World Service