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Serbian President Boris Tadic (epa) Is Serbia's pro-Western President Boris Tadic about to cut a deal with allies of former dictator Slobodan Milosevic?


Serbian media are reporting that the reformist coalition led by Tadic's Democratic Party is "very close" to reaching a deal with the Socialist Party, formerly led by Milosevic, to form a coalition government. Milosevic died in prison in The Hague in 2006.


So far, neither party is confirming a deal. The Socialist Party is also being courted heavily by two of Tadic's rivals -- the pro-Moscow Radical Party, led by ultranationalist Tomislav Nikolic, and a conservative coalition led by outgoing Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica's Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS).


On May 13, Tadic said he had begun "informal negotiations with certain parties that have advocated a stable, economically prosperous government that will lead the country into the European Union."


Zarko Obradovic, a high-ranking Socialist Party official, tells RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service that he was unaware of any talks between Tadic and Socialist leader Ivica Dacic.


'Not Yet Received' Invitation


"I know that Mr. Dacic and Mr. Nikolic said that they had contacts after the election and talked about results," Obradovic said. "Mr. Dacic told me that he is going to have talks with our coalition partners and Mr. Kostunica. We have not yet received an invitation for talks from the Democratic Party."


Tadic's For A European Serbia coalition, which won 102 seats in the May 11 elections, needs a minimum of 126 votes to form a government. Nikolic's Radical Party came in a distant second in the election, winning 77 seats. Kostunica's DSS-led grouping finished in third place with 30 seats in parliament, followed by the Socialist Party with 20 seats.


The Liberal Democrats, a pro-Western party, won 14 seats, and smaller parties representing ethnic minorities won a handful of mandates.


Unlikely Alliance


A coalition between Tadic's coalition and the Radicals is widely seen as impossible.


A deal between the president and Kostunica, allies in Serbia's outgoing government, is considered highly unlikely. The outgoing government, a coalition between Kostunica's Democratic Party of Serbia and Tadic's Democratic Party, collapsed in March due to a conflict over ties with the European Union following Kosovo's independence.


All of which leaves the unlikely alliance with the Socialists as the lone remaining option for Tadic's pro-European forces. The Radical Party, together with Kostunica, is also seeking to form a coalition with the Socialists.


The daily "Blic" reports on May 14 that the deal was nearly finalized after two days of talks between Tadic and Socialist Party leader Ivica Dacic. "Blic" also reports that Dacic was under "intense pressure" from Kostunica's allies not to join forces with Tadic.

RFE/RL Balkan Report


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