Do people in Serbia believe that Nikolic is a new pro-European leader or did they wanted to punish former president Tadic?
This election had the lowest turnout of voters since 2004 (Nikolic won 50.21% of total votes to Tadic’s 46.77%). Tadic won almost 817.467 less votes than during the last elections while Nikolic won almost 675.555 less votes. The former president Tadic, while acting as President of Serbia, was also the president of the Democratic Party, which had a majority in the Serbian Parliament, and in the Serbian Government. The middle class in Serbia felt betrayed, the had expected more. The big numbers are critical. With high levels of unemployment, corruption, failed transition, people grew tired. Serbia is among the four poorest countries in Europe. The standard of life is certainly on the edge for many people. Tadic’s closest associates should feel that they could have contributed more, and could have changed many negative aspects of Serbian society. It is clear that Nikolic has secured victory because people refused to use their vote to support Tadic once more. This is what caused his defeat.
Serbia is in the final phase of forming a new government, and Nikolic has stated that he is ready to cooperate with Tadic. This cooperation is crucial for Serbia’s future, for if there is an inability to cooperate between these two opposing sides, Serbia will have a hard time moving forward on its path towards the EU. Many sticky issues await the new government; massive public administration, the pension and tax reforms, and of course, Kosovo.
Tadic has done a lot to promote the Serbian reputation in the world, and has built his name as one of the fighters for the European idea. Mr Nikolic, however, does not have the same positioning. While he declares himself as pro-EU, he needs to work hard to create a better image of himself, and to show that he is honest in his intentions and his rhetoric, and that he will maintain his focus on cooperation in the region. He declared that he wants to foster good relations with the EU and with Russia and, for now, he has support from both sides.
These elections have shown us that there is a place for a new political option in Serbia, which, if formed, could play an important role in the Serbian pro-European perspective.