Ex-Milosevic aide takes power in Serbia

2012-07-27 16:02
AP

AP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Belgrade - The former spokesperson of late strongman Slobodan Milosevic took power in Serbia on Friday, telling Europe and the Balkans to forget the past and not fear the return of a political alliance that once led the country to war with Nato.

After 12 hours of heated debate, lawmakers in the 250-seat Serbian parliament voted 142 to 72 to endorse Socialist Party leader Ivica Dacic as prime minister at the helm of a coalition with nationalists.

The alliance condemns to the opposition benches the main reformers who ousted Milosevic in 2000, raising concern in the West that Serbia might veer from the path they took towards joining the European Union.

Dacic said EU membership was "a key goal", but that he would not be made to answer anymore for Serbia's dark past.

"If they say the word Balkan means 'blood and honey', there's been enough blood, it's time to feel the taste of honey too," the career politician told the assembly during a debate that ran late into the night.

"Serbia is offering the hand of reconciliation, to all. Let's not deal anymore with the past, let's deal with the future."

Railing against the West

The West is closely scrutinising Dacic's ascent to the most powerful post in Serbia - in alliance with President Tomislav Nikolic's nationalists - for any sign that the country may drift from the EU path chosen by the seven states carved from old federal Yugoslavia.

Nikolic and the Socialists last shared power at the close of Milosevic's disastrous 13-year rule, when his forces expelled almost 1 million ethnic Albanians from Kosovo and Nato bombed in 1999 to wrest the province from him.

Dacic, aged 46, was Milosevic's spokesperson, railing against the West. He now says Serbia's future is in the EU, but Western diplomats admit to doubts over whether he is willing and able to carry out the political and economic reforms it will take.

"A key goal of this government will be the acceleration of European integration and maximum effort to secure a date for the start of accession talks," Dacic said.

His government inherits an economy sliding into recession, a jobless rate of 25% and a shrinking, ageing population scraping by on an average net monthly wage of $420.

In a speech that cited economists John Maynard Keynes and Paul Krugman and American industrialist Henry Ford, Dacic dismissed calls for "belt-tightening" at the cost of pensions and pay, saying only economic growth would bring down Serbia's growing debt burden of 55% of output.

Grip on Kosovo

The West says Serbia's progress towards EU membership rests on it coming to terms with the loss of Kosovo, an impoverished territory steeped in history and myth for many Serbs but recognised by almost half the world as independent.

Dacic said he was ready to continue EU-mediated talks with Kosovo aimed at "normalising life for all citizens". But Serbia would never recognise it as independent, he said.

The EU says it won't have to, at least explicitly, but it will have to loosen its grip on a Serb-populated slice of Kosovo's north, and stop obstructing the country's development.

That will determine how quickly the EU opens accession talks, after making Serbia a candidate for membership in March. Ex-Yugoslav republic Slovenia joined the EU in 2004. Croatia is next in 2013 and Montenegro began talks last month.

Dacic was interior minister in the last government with the reformist Democratic Party from 2008, until voters punished the Democrats for perceived elitism and an economic downturn.

The new coalition includes the technocrat United Regions bloc, whose leader Mladjan Dinkic becomes finance minister. Trying to settle markets, Dinkic says Serbia will revive a frozen loan deal with the International Monetary Fund.

Diplomat Ivan Mrkic, ambassador in Cyprus under Milosevic at a time when, reformers say, millions of dollars were siphoned out of Serbia via Nicosia, became foreign minister.

Read more on:    slobodan milosevic  |  serbia
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

DA wants to empower fishing communities - Zille

DA leader Helen Zille says the party has a plan for harbours and small-scale fishing communities.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Grabouw - 10:15 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS approaching Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9360

The BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone comes preloaded with Blackberry OS7...

From R1595.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. ...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.