The harsh words that Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica addressed to the EU after his meeting with Javier Solana [when he said EU help was not needed in solving relations between Serbia and Montenegro] was a signal to analysts that the prime minister had begun his election campaign and was preparing for elections soon.
Serbian Deputy Speaker Rade Obradovic, chairman of the DSS [Democratic Party of Serbia] council, denies that the government and his party have launched an election campaign.
"The party conducts regular activities in connection with its programme even when elections are not in the offing," said Obradovic. "The government is working on problems and acts accordingly. We plan on holding elections in the next year and a half, and there will be plenty of time for campaigning."
DS [Democratic Party] deputy club head Dusan Petrovic said only Kostunica could say whether he was setting out on an election campaign. However, the statement made after the meeting with Solana was not beneficial for Serbia and its citizens, said Petrovic, with the country entering into the final stage of talks on Kosovo-Metohija [Kosmet]. Serbia's diplomatic capacity has rather diminished after Kostunica equated the behaviour of the EU with Ratko Mladic.
"The decision on Kosmet will be made by the UN Security Council and it is very important for Serbia to have all the available strength to state its case and persuade the body that it is in its best interests to support what is in Serbia's best interests. Therefore, it is very, very bad of Kostunica assessing the EU's conduct and policy that way," said Petrovic.
SDU [Social Democratic Union] leader Zarko Korac does not think that Kostunica launched an election campaign. He believes that Kostunica is on the downside, after the suspension of talks with the EU and the resignation of Miroljub Labus as chief negotiator, while the fractured government pretends nothing happened. Montenegro is another blow to Kostunica's policy, and the last blow will be Kosovo, Korac foresees.
"Kostunica is being destructive, as one whose policy is on the loser's side," said Korac. Asked what could "force" Kostunica to call elections, Korac said he believed Kostunica would come out with a story for a broad-based government under the pretext that he had to protect the integrity of Serbia.
"That could happen after Martti Ahtisaari submits his report to the Security Council, most likely in July, as the report will probably mention some form of final status for Kosovo. Between the option of going to the polls and gaining full political legitimacy with a new government, I believe Kostunica is more likely to take advantage of the crisis to defer elections."
Unlike Korac, SPS [Socialist Party of Serbia] deputy chairman Milorad Vucelic understood Kostunica's words as nothing out of the ordinary.
"Clearly the EU had misunderstood what this was about and came to perform some sort of divorce, though the Constitution Charter says everything clearly. We do not need their help. Parliament is doing its job without them. I do not see why some people have an inferiority complex towards the EU and are all praise for it. The Constitutional Charter is explicit, we [Serbia] are the successor state, and Kostunica was merely conveying this. The way things are going, Solana and the EU will be assisting men in going to bed with their wives. I expect they will call Solana before and ask for permission," said Vucelic.
Source: Dnevnik, Novi Sad, in Serbian 6 Jun 06