Who compromises themselves most

Not too surprisingly, the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) has moved for a vote of confidence in prime minister Koštunica's government. Their motivation is to block further arrests and extraditions of ICTY suspects. Mr Koštunica's silent partners, the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), have been making similar suggestions. But the SPSovci know that no other party will protect their interests as well as the ruling one, which protects them inconsistently, so they are hedging their bets.

Now the Democratic Party (DS) has also decided to support the initiative for a vote of confidence. No doubt they are calculating that the present government has performed badly enough that they would have a better chance in new elections. But every time elections are called, the possibility of a better showing is weighed against the risk of creating another opening for the return of the extreme right. Is DS compromising itself by supporting an initiative from SRS? Certainly, although no vote of confidence can ever pass without the opposition. But there may be more to the strategy: the votes of SRS and DS together are not enough to force new elections. A confidence vote could force SPS to reveal just how badly it wants Mr Koštunica to remain in office.


Anonymous said...

The original Parliamentary results were

Radicals 81
DPS 53
Democrats 37
G17+ 34
Vuk D. & Co. 23
Socialists 22

250 seats total, so 125 votes needed to uphold a gov't. (As opposed to 126 votes needed to form it.)

Those numbers are from last year. I'm sure there have been at least a few defections. But I suspect the basic dynamic hasn't changed: DPS + G17 + Vuk is still not a majority (otherwise things would be a lot simpler).

So, yep, it comes down to the Socialists. Who may get to choose between potential electoral suicide (they only got 7% of the vote last time, and 5% is the threshold for representation) and betraying their purported ideals.

That's actually sort of cool.

-- I dunno. Opening for the far right, yeah. Other hand, this government has been pretty useless. New elections are... tempting.

Doug M.

Eric Gordy said...

That's the calculus, if SRS and DS both vote for no confidence, they are 8 votes short. One thing I should clarify: DS said they would vote to put the resolution on the floor, but not necessarily that they would vote in favor of the resolution.

B92 has the results today of an April poll of support for parties. But it may not mean much, the predictive value of polls in Serbia is pretty poor.