Results tonight, turnout high

As you no doubt know, voters in Serbia are electing a new parliament today. As in the presidential elections in January and February, CeSiD is reporting that turnout is very high and will perhaps be higher than ever. Follow their site for updates and for returns after the polling places close. Things to watch for:
  1. Most of the preelection surveys show the DS-led coalition and SRS running about even. One of them will be the largest group in the new parliament but neither one will have a majority. This means that smaller parties will decide who forms the next government.
  2. The biggest of the small parties is DSS (in coalition with NS). Surveys show them running somewhere between 12 and 14 percent, but I am tempted to think that this is overestimated, considering that in the last parliamentary election they got around 16 percent and in the meantime they have alienated many of their supporters. This may very well be wishful thinking on my part, however, and I could be carried away by the thought that the cold dead hand of Vojislav Koštunica might have no influence at all on upcoming events.
  3. LDP may well be gaining in influence, although they undoubtedly have a fairly restricted base and hence an upper limit. A strong showing on their part would limit the capacity of Mr Tadić to form another coalition with parties who are fundamentally opposed to the wishes of most DS supporters.
  4. The strange creature that uses the word "Socialist" in its name will probably get some meaningful number of seats in the parliament. Neither of the larger parties has the guts (and probably not the room to maneuvre either) to avoid a coalition with them. They are thieves, so will go with whoever offers them the most lucrative patronage.
  5. Turnout in Vojvodina and Sandžak will determine whether the minority parties remain marginal or decide who forms the next government. Although it could be argued that their strongest interest is in supporting DS, they may have a stronger interest in being represented at all, and so could easily decide to give a margin of victory to SRS rather than sitting on the sidelines for an indeterminate period.
By law a government does not have to be formed quickly, so we could once again see a situation in which even when we know the results, we still do not know who won. But pleasant and unpleasant surprises are both always possible.

Update: Estimating again around 5PM, the turnout looks as though it might not be so high after all. Low turnout is a reason to be worried about the result.

Update2: If history is a guide, when turnout is low then fascinating things happen during the final hour of voting.

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