On Thursday, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić officially took office for a five-year-term by taking the oath of office in parliament, “I swear to devote all my efforts to preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia, with Kosovo and Metohija as a integral part, to realise human rights and freedoms for national minorities, respect and protect the constitution and laws, maintain the peace and promote the welfare of all Serbian citizens, and that I’ll faithfully and responsibly carry out all my obligations”. Then, a band played the national anthem, Bože pravde (God of Justice).
After taking the oath, he said that Serbia should join the EU, but it mustn’t abandon its sovereignty and territorial integrity to do so, it mustn’t give up Kosovo and Metohija, saying, “I want a different Serbia… I won’t stop fighting until Serbia becomes a just and democratic state under the law. I want Serbia to be a country free from the fear of the future, to be a full EU member, but we’ll never give up Kosovo and Metohija. I see Serbia as a house with two doors… one to the west and one to the east”. In his speech, the new president drew attention to the fact that Serbia was in crisis, and that Serbs lost faith in their government because of “its incompetence, it carried out privatisation, it was corrupt, and it leeched off society”.
For the first time, Nikolić invited all the other 11 candidates in the presidential race to the similar ceremony. Government officials, foreign diplomats, representatives of the army, police, international organisations, religious figures, members of the electoral commission, university rectors, heads of various government agencies, and other public figures, also attended the event. Another solemn inauguration ceremony with the participation of foreign guests will be in Belgrade on 11 June. Nikolić became President of Serbia after winning the second round of the presidential election on 20 May, where he beat former President Boris Tadić by about 2 percent of the vote. The current presidential election was the tenth multi-party election held since 1990, when Serbia was part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. So far, there have been four Presidents of Serbia, Slobodan Milošević (two terms), Milan Milutinović (one term), Boris Tadić (two terms), and, now, Nikolić . The authorities found four of the elections invalid.
31 May 2012
Voice of Russia World Service