(ANSAmed) - BELGRADE, MAY 21 - The surprise election of
nationalist conservative Tomislav Nikolic represents a political
earthquake for Serbia and opens a period of uncertainty and
possible instability which may have negative repercussions on
the country's reform process on its path towards Europe, as for
the process of dialogue begun between Belgrade and Pristina.
In his first statements as victor yesterday evening, Nikolic
reassured listeners about continuity in Serbia's process of
integration with Europe. Nikolic was formerly an
ultranationalist extremist, who then converted to a more
moderate position, cautiously open to the European option. But
doubts linger due to the force of his past openly anti-European
pronouncements, and the fact that shortly before the election he
forged an alliance with a trenchantly anti-European party.
It is therefore no coincidence that international reactions
have tended, while congratulating Mr Nikolic, to stress an
explicit invitation for Serbia to continue on its path towards
Europe - a path resolutely embarked upon by former president
Boris Tadic, whose defeat in yesterday's poll has come as a
surprise to many.
The most immediate upshot of Nikolic's bursting onto the
scene will be greater difficulties in forming a new government.
On the eve of the ballot, Tadic's Democratic Party (DS) and the
Socialist Party (SPS) under the popular and influential Interior
Minister Ivica Dacic, had agreeed to continue with their
centre-left coalition government, with the support of the other
minor reformist parties (the Party of the Regions and the
Liberal-Democrat Party). But Nikolic's unexpected victory has
induced Dacic to tell a newspaper that the situation has now
changed and that ''everything will be more complicated''.
Dacic, whose Socialist Party doubled its mandate during the
legislative elections of May 6, making it the third-largest
political force in the country (behind Nikolic's Progress Party
and Tadic's Democratic Party), has become the true power broker.
He could stick to his word, or he could be attracted by the
prospect of an alliance with Nikolic, should attractive offers
come his way, involving interesting political gains.
The deadline for forming a new government is September 5.
Nobody wants to think of Serbia being without a government until
then, but if this should come to pass, fresh elections